Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling


Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling

Curated by Mark Rosenthal
Friday, April 27, 2018 – Sunday, August 26, 2018

Philadelphia, PA, March 29, 2018 – The Fabric Workshop and Museum is pleased to present Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling, April 27 through August 26, 2018. Guest curated by Mark Rosenthal, the exhibition title is taken from von Rydingsvard’s favorite poet, Rainer Maria Rilke: “We don’t know the contour of feeling; we only know what molds it from without.” (Fourth Duino Elegy).

A master of large-scale cedar sculpture, von Rydingsvard creates works that lie low on the floor or stand tall as primitive totems. Featuring approximately 32 sculptures and 10 works on paper, the exhibition will focus on work since 2000 and will conclude with an unexpected finale. A true creative collaboration with FWM studio staff, this immense sculpture – evocative of a massively over-sized jacket – is sewn from over 90 deconstructed leather jackets sourced from thrift stores and flea markets. The piece will debut in this show and present the artist’s first work in leather. The material is an altogether unexpected one for the artist, representing an expansion of her practice developed through her residency with FWM. Redolent of the human presence that was always ubiquitous but more veiled in her earlier works, the leather that forms this new sculpture has been touched by many hands.

According to Susan Lubowsky Talbott, Executive Director of the Fabric Workshop and Museum, “The giant leather jacket entitled PODERWAĆ, which resulted from von Rydingsvard’s residency, exemplifies the unexpected outcome of an artist being given ample time and resources to experiment. The jacket took almost 900 hours of sewing; when I commented that there was something wonderfully tortured about this work, Ursula’s response was ‘good—that’s what I wanted!’”

Two large early works and a grouping of small hanging objects will serve as a prologue, providing insight into von Rydingsvard’s longstanding predilection for emotionally-charged, visceral art that is at the same time hand-wrought and profoundly vulnerable. In reflecting on what we could bring to the telling of the artist’s artistic narrative, I came to be motivated by what our exhibition would not be.” Explains Mark Rosenthal, “Instead of the familiar outdoor sculpture garden environment, the show will focus on the interior Ursula…the half of her art that is born in the sphere of feelings, poetry, and personal touch.”

This exhibition will mark the most ambitious to date in the United States for von Rydingsvard. Her largest European exhibition, Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2014, along with the coda to that exhibit in Venice the following summer, were the catalyst for The Contour of Feeling. Concurrent with this exhibition, a related installation of two of the artist’s outdoor works (one bronze, one resin) will be presented at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (April 27, 2018 – April 2019). A solo gallery exhibition TORN will be presented at Galerie Lelong & Co in New York City (May 3 – June 23). The Contour of Feeling represents the second collaboration between von Rydingsvard and the Fabric Workshop and Museum, the first, Ursula von Rydingsvard: Working with Felt and Cedar, took place in 1990 and included a new work created from cedar and handmade felt, Felt Cup Board (1989), acquired for FWM’s collection.

Related Programming

Ursula von Rydingsvard: Speaking About Her Sculpture and Conversation with Guest Curator Mark Rosenthal
Thursday, April 26, 2018, 6:00 – 7:30pm
Moore College of Art and Design, Graham Auditorium

1916 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Ursula von Rydingsvard: “Into Her Own” Film Screening

Saturday, June 2, 2018, 2:00-4:30pm
In partnership with the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Perelman Auditorium, 2525 Pennsylvania Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130
The film will be followed by Q & A and a BYO Picnic in the Anne d’ Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden.

About the Artist
Ursula von Rydingsvard
was born in 1942 in Deensen, Germany. Her first monumental work in hand- pounded copper, URODA, was permanently installed at Princeton University (2015), followed by her largest public sculpture in bronze, SCIENTIA, at MIT (2015). A new permanent installation is forthcoming at Stanford University in 2018. Her permanent sculptures are in such collections as the North Carolina Museum of Art, Bloomberg Corporation, and Barclays Center. Her work is part of over 30 museum collections, including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, NY; and the Detroit Institute of Arts, MI. She has received honors including the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture, the Guggenheim Fellowship, three awards from the American section of the International Association of Art Critics, the International Sculpture Center Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The artist lives in New York City and works in Brooklyn.

About the Curator
Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling is being organized by Mark Rosenthal, an independent curator based in New York. Rosenthal has had a distinguished career in museum work, having served as Head of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Gallery, Washington, DC, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In addition, he has been an Adjunct Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Menil Collection, Houston; and the Detroit Institute of Arts. His past exhibitions include Regarding Andy Warhol for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, William Kentridge: 5 Themes for the Museum of Modern Art, An Odyssey: A Narrative of The Fabric Workshop and Museum for FWM, and Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit for the Detroit Institute of Arts.

About The Fabric Workshop and Museum

Founded in 1977, The Fabric Workshop and Museum encourages international artists at all stages of their careers to experiment with new materials and new media in a veritable living laboratory, working with studio staff, educators, and apprentices. Through its renowned Artist-in-Residence Program, FWM’s collaborative process continues to build a permanent collection of some 6,000 works of art and an archive of diverse materials that preserve and document the course of artistic production from inspiration to realization. An ambitious program of exhibitions and publications, a dynamic website, and wide-ranging educational programming enhance FWM’s commitment to conveying a story of contemporary art that unites process with finished works of art of interest to a broad national and international audience.

Media Contacts
For further information, images and interviews, please refer to the following contacts:
David Simantov
Blue Medium, Inc
Tel: +1-212-675-1800

For Philadelphia-based Inquiries:
Katherine Blodgett
FWM Communications

Ursula von Rydingsvard The Fabric Workshop and Museum