The Stranger's Return
mixed media sculpture
on verso signed twice and dated 2007 twice and titled
48 x 30 x 25 1/2 in, 121.9 x 76.2 x 64.8 cm
Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000
Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave
Greener Pastures Contemporary Art, Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto
Today, humans have the ability to enhance their bodies through electronic implants, sophisticated surgeries and even face transplants, and yet our bodies have also become contaminated receptacles for toxic substances such as plastics and pesticides. In this work, Huma Bhabha uses styrofoam, wood, metal and other remnants (of human activity) usually found in a junkyard or building demolition site and reimagines them in a human form. Some features, like the head, appear handmade and naturalistic; the result of elaborate, labour-intensive moulding of clay. The angular shape of the torso resembles a simplified facial form of early modernism. Together, these disparate materials form a strange, monstrous, perhaps even humourous humanoid figure, its insides of metal cables, mesh and wood left exposed from under the skin, as if revealing a b-movie cyborg. The figure has been burned, carved and painted; these acts of sculpting and art making seem aggressive, made in a frenzy. Ironically, through these gestures, this work seems to gain a sense of cohesion and place, as all of the features are impacted by the same charred processes.
Huma Bhabha grew up in Pakistan. Using these altered, found materials, she is able to simultaneously express her many different influences (art historical, political and colonial). She weaves them together to create imposing yet fragile figures that at once seem familiar, yet full of anxiety, about to fall apart
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