Valerie Goodman Gallery is delighted to announce the installation of a large-scale sculpture by Jacques Jarrige and his long-term workshop of psychiatric patients at the historic Pfizer Building in Brooklyn. The show represents a collaborative effort on many levels: after successful shows at the Queens Museum , we are partnering again with Vida Sabbaghi, the designer, historian, curator and educator known for her exhibitions engaging artists of diverse backgrounds and involving the "creative reuse" of refuse. This autumn, her organization COPE NYC has developed a three-tiered, four-months project at the former pharmaceutical plant that includes an artist residency program as well as two exhibitions, and from November 16 and December 19, 2016, Jacques Jarrige's magnificent "Grand Mobile" will be on view as part of Vida Sabbaghi's celebration of sustainable practices and humble materials. Please join us for a reception on November 19 at the Pfizer Building on 350 Flushing Avenue at 6:00pm.
For the last twenty years, the Paris-based sculptor and designer Jacques Jarrige has been working with patients at a local psychiatric hospital. Over the decades, this master of the delicate, three-dimensional line and his group of deeply dedicated amateurs have inspired each other to create fine-boned, often kinetic objects from modest materials. "Grand Mobile," the largest sculpture ever assembled by Jarrige and the residents of the hospital , is the culmination of sculptural efforts that began very small — often with not much more than sticks found on the hospital grounds. What his disciples may have initially lacked in manual skill and conceptual rigor, they often made up for with what Jarrige calls the "freedom and audacity" of experimentation — an attitude that proved infectious to an artist already weary of trying to control every aspect of his work: Jarrige has always preferred waiting for ideas and feelings to come to him on their own. Furthermore, the tremulous, tender, slightly awkward lines Jarrige carves out of plywood, aluminum and MDF with his small hand tools are conscious opposites of the industrially produced objects that surround us — even in the art world.
The "Grand Mobile" embodies Jarrige's affinity for the poetic esthetics of arte povera while simultaneously daring to be monumental. This vaguely anthropomorphic giant is delicate yet possesses an energetic Picasso-esque anatomy: he seems to be kneeling and walking on four legs in different directions at the same time. All these seemingly contradictory motions are consolidated, however, in the horizontal balancing pole, the sculpture's truly kinetic element, pivoting nonchalantly on a fingertip. There is grace and fragility in this slender gestalt, as well as a sensitivity for the folk artist's love of imperfections. The gestural dynamics that are so essential to Jacques Jarrige's concept of sculpture are hyper-present here, on an unprecedented scale, gently vibrating with the energy of the many hands that worked on this complex piece.