‘Huma Bhabha: Unnatural Histories’ at MoMA PS1

Pakistani born, Poughkeepsie based figurative artist Huma Bhabha opened her first solo museum show at MoMa PS1 on November 17th. After receiving her Bachelors from Rhode Island School of Design, Huma went on to receive her Master’s from Columbia University in 1989 and has been exhibiting ever since through Salon 94, The Saatchi Gallery, and Stephen Friedman Gallery. Showcasing both sculpture and drawings, ‘Unnatural Histories’ will be on view through spring 2013. Huma’s three dimensional assemblages are typically constructed from styrofoam, cork, clay, chicken wire, and scrap wood. Her unique, interpretive use of these typically discarded materials has helped build her reputation in the contemporary art world. Evoking the essence and history of sculptural techniques, Bhabha’s work often references that of the Master’s, her longtime interest in 1970’s Science Fiction as well the universal themes of war, death, cultural displacement and memory.

Her totemic painted bronzes guarding the front entrance of the museum entitled ‘God of Some Things’ and ‘Ghost of Humankindness’ were both cast at Polich Tallix. ‘Ghost of Humankindness’ stands over 8 feet in height and weighs 1100 lbs. The bronze sculpture, from a distance, appears to be constructed of stacked pieces of packing styrofoam. The strange sort of  haunting mask is meant to resemble the organic clay original. The hand molded form is highlighted by a burst of black spray paint, giving  dark expression to the otherwise simple and geometric stark white arrangement. The sculpture was cast using the traditional lost-wax method, and hand painted by one of our expert craftsmen. ‘God of Some Things,’ a  patinated bronze, was cast from molds made of an original hand carved and painted piece of cork. Both sculptures feel almost more like ancient  monuments guarding the front entrance to the museum, inviting those who walk through the doors to remember, recall, and reinvent their own ideas of history with a little help of a few packing peanuts and the eyes of an artist.

Images courtesy of Salon 94 and the artist.

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