2020 – Materialize me! – Sequential processes in sculpture – Sarah Maske

Materialize me! – Sequential processes in sculpture


The process of sculpture creation includes complex occurrences of decision-making and realization that often remain unconcluded and that extend into the exhibition space.
For several years, Gloria Zein has been creating sculptural groups from various materials that, in their heterogeneity, appear like active characters. Her installation perfect look. perfect care. perfect body. (2013-19) consists of four sculptures made from MDF, steel, ceramics, polyurethane, and plaster. The title seems to be an ironic approach to the creative process, for the sculptures are not describable as „perfect” in the sense of „finished”. Zein herself calls them „silent companions of her studio activities”, because the exhibited sculptures came to life in parallel to the actual main works. What is special about this is that they return to the studio after every exhibition, where they are taken apart and altered, in order to be presented in another exhibition, of the same materials but of a different composition. Thus, Zein’s sculptures are in a process of development at all times, and the recipient observes intermediary life stations in the exhibitions.

A long-term analyses of Zein’s work is intriguing, for it reveals a multitude about material composition, color contrasts, and form work in a consequent and almost statistic manner of survey.
Thereby, Zein critically poses the question about the perfect and the finished.
Additionally, Zein deals with the interrelations of her sculptures that she likes to call „performers”. In an interview with Stephanie Rosenthal, she ponders what sculptures can achieve within a space: „Probably, the small things you do, the small interventions are more likely to leave traces and, at one point, engage a different thinking or sensibility. That’s also the kind of interaction I am looking for with the participatory work.” 1

Accordingly, she conceptualized the sculptures of perfect look. perfect care. perfect body. as autonomous agents that activate
their surroundings, that create new movements and social contexts like in a dance. This also comes to pass by means of the
color scheme and design which are reflected in each other, in the exhibition space, and in the recipients. As a result, the visitor becomes part of the dance quartet.


Sarah Maske, 2020

1 Artist Talk: Gloria Zein in Conversation with Stephanie Rosenthal
Goethe-Institut London, 03.07.2012. www.gloria-zein.com



The text is an excerpt from the catalogue text of the same name by Sarah Maske. It was first published in  “The Process of Becoming – Temporal Dimensions of Sculpture”, Ed. Galerie im Körnerpark / Viborg Kunsthal, 2020

Exhibition view:
“The process of becoming” Galerie im Körnerpark Berlin, 2019
Photo: Lena von Goedeke