The enormous, site-specific, commissioned piece is now on display and was made specifically for this space. It marks the first piece of exclusively designed art for the DMA since Ellsworth Kelly’s piece, Untitled, was installed in the Scuplture Garden in 1984.
Dallas Snake towers over the garden at an impressive 15 feet tall, rising above the Garden wall to the east to peek over the wall to Mark Di Suvero’s sculpture Ave (1973). As the newest addition to the Sculpture Garden, this piece creates a thought-provoking juxtaposition with the more formal marble and metal pieces that surround it.
Handforth has said of the piece “the chain snake is an oversized readymade, an aggrandized piece of folk art—the kind of thing you might put your mailbox on, but of catastrophic proportion.”
The industrial Snake is composed of three mangled recycled objects braided together—an I-Beam, a red lamp post, and foot-long anchor chains. These unique objects come together to create a giant and elegant abstraction of a cobra.
Dallas Snake is not unlike other works by the artist, who often uses industrial objects to share his view of the urban landscape. Handforth has been known to use benches, street signs, street lamps and even Vespa motorbikes in his projects. The fluid and organic process he uses to produce these pieces is very unique; although he is well-versed in conventional sculpture process, he often breaks the existing vocabulary and invents new ways to create.
Handforth’s sculptures bring new meaning to the texts and objects that map out the routines of our everyday lives and invite the viewer to reconsider the ways we engage with the built environment—what Ed Ruscha once called the “unreported facts” all around us. The result is a body of work that masterfully draws inspiration from a variety of sources: Bernini’s gravity-defying Saint Theresa (1647–1652), the modern line of Anthony Caro, Claes Oldenberg’s humor, and Dan Flavin’s affinity for electric light.
Handforth was born in Hong Kong and has lived and worked in Miami, Florida since graduating from the Slade School of Art in London and Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste Städelschule in Frankfurt, Germany. Other sculptures that are part of his outdoor twisted lamppost series can be viewed around the country, including New York’s Central Park. Previously, the artist has been exhibited as a solo artist at: the Modern Institute in Glasgow, the Kunsthaus in Zurich and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.
The exhibition will un through September 23, 2007. -- www.dallasmuseumofart.org