Otto Boll is an artist who operates from an expressly minimalist sensibility. His works are acutely reduced forms of steel that hover in space, almost cutting through it. Suspended by barely visible nylon threads, these sculptures — lines drawn in the air — seem to float, and inhabit the area and space overhead. Using 3 mm strips of steel, he sharpens the tip until he achieves a point so fine that its outer limit disappears.
Thus, the artist is capable of shaping visual statements that linger precariously on the edge: the works oscillate between presence and absence, the seen and the unseen, suggesting both materiality and the void. The artist is thereby able to unsettle the viewer’s conception of solidity.
Articulating something which appears to be almost lighter than air, Boll invites us into a state of (possibly uncomfortable) contemplation. One needs to walk around and under the work — in line with minimalist premises — in order to attain a more „complete“ experience of the sculptures. The works are in fact sculptural events that are activated by the viewer’s real-time multisensory perception.
Axel Vervoordt Gallery is currently presenting 17 sculptures, in which the fundaments of Otto Boll’s practice are present. The exhibition is first and foremost about finding words with, about, and through the works of art, as a result of the interaction between viewer and creation. The works radiate tranquillity and harmony, discreetness and preciseness, and with characteristic forms that seem to hover in space.
It’s not only the form and fine subtlety of Boll’s sculptures that fascinates but also how they manifest themselves in space: apparently floating on nylon threads or with a fine chalk line against a black background; as subtle eruptions from the surface of the wall or as robust articulations of the contours of its surroundings.
Boll’s creations oscillate between presence and absence, the seen and the unseen, suggesting both materiality and the void. The artist invites the viewer into a sculptural event, the conception of solidity fading. The minimalist sensibility appeals to human feeling, the bodily sensation.
Otto Boll // „Widening the Language“ // Axel Vervoordt Gallery // Antwerp, Belgium // Through 05 June 2021
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