A “Sketch in the Air” softens Trump SoHo with sound echoes in Tribeca
Jorge Palacios, one of the most poignant figures of Spanish contemporary sculpture now presides the entrance of Trump SoHo with a rotund “Sketch in the Air”, which he erected while opening his solo show in partnership with Fridman Gallery, Steven Harris Architects, and Rees Roberts + Partners space in Tribeca.
The cobblestone streets of SoHo run slightly off the grid plan of Manhattan with their iron-cast buildings, of no more than 12 stories, and their 19th century English and French facades: until one point. Trump SoHo is a colossal ensemble of glass and concrete 454 feet tall, a powerful disruptor of this neighborhood’s identity. It broke ground in 2006 not without loud opposition from different community groups involving protests, mail campaigns, and even law suits. This time the spirit of Robert Moses won again and the building was completed in 2010. However the dissonance hasn´t been as strident as expected. Five years after completion it doesn´t seem it was a Trojan horse any more, since we haven´t seen such developments proliferate in the area. The chosen materials were rich, but don’t scream as they do in other Trump sites (the mirror facade definitely helps), and the public areas were designed by David Rockwell. And let’s face it; the hotel means business for the surrounding stores. Today Trump SoHo displays one more soothing ointment for the discombobulated pedestrian.
Jorge Palacios’ work is consistent, powerful from its very coherence. His first sculpture, now in exhibition for the first time at Rees Roberts + Partners space in Tribeca, reveals the expressive traits that he has developed throughout his career with increasing subtlety and serenity. Palacios’ work has been exhibited at the highest places, such as the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Madrid, or the Exhibition Center of the Principality of Monaco in Monte-Carlo.
After jumping several snow ditches I found a yellow cab that left me at the main entrance of the Trump SoHo, and there it is: the two meters tall bulbous giant displaying a big round teak belly. It is a typical Palacios figure; its generous curves transmit an unequivocal sense of rotundity. However we soon appreciate that volume is far from been the same as mass or even weight, when realizing that all that rotundity rests in a thin steel mast. Similar contrast to lightness vs. heaviness, takes place between the elemental beams of the sculpture with their warm rectangular solidity versus the overall shape of the sculpture that evokes lightness and viscosity. Palacios shows interest for combining the warmth of the woods with the freshness of different fluid forms. That’s precisely the case with the “Drop”.
The story of the first “Drop” is well known. Palacios worked on a large format sculpture for months, experimenting with molten glass and countless scale models pursuing the perfect water drop form into a massive wooden body. The piece was widely recognized and praised, particularly for the vivid rings of the wood. Palacios realized that the expressivity of his form was underscored by the material. His own wood, the dearest material that gives him such a rich pallet had betrayed him. And so he ignited the “Drop”. Therefore the “Drop” exhibiting today in New York after visiting Monte-Carlo is not the original one but a second generation of those ashes.
“Sketch in the Air” at the Trump SoHo (246 Spring St.) and “Convergences” at Rees Roberts & Partners (120 Chambers St.) are on view through May 1st