Surplus Tension | The Arts Club of Chicago
30 September 2021 - 29 January 2022
Hannah Levy’s precisely-rendered sculptures exist between the realms of danger and corporeality. Crafted of such evocative materials as steel and cast silicone, her forms at once evoke inanimate decor and sensual beings. In Hannah Levy: Surplus Tension, Levy departs from the specificities of the Arts Club’s Miesian aesthetic of shiny terrazzo, travertine cladding, or sumptuous silk and velvet drapery to reflect upon the underside of mid-century modern. She delves into the details of an architectural moment that is commonly held to be characterized by clean lines and white walls to find corsetlike leather ties around tubular metal chairs or mirror surfaces in black marble akin to reflecting pools. Levy further calls into question the gendering of that aesthetic by acknowledging the contributions of Mies’s longtime collaborator Lilly Reich, who early on used textile to inventively demarcate space as Mies did in his design for The Arts Club rooms. With hanging, pendulous works, grounded elements, and anthropomorphic details, Levy skirts the edges of risk to embody the gallery rooms from floor to ceiling.
Hannah Levy (b. 1991, New York, New York) lives and works in New York, New York. Recent solo exhibitions include the High Line, New York (2021); Casey Kaplan, New York (2020); mother’s tankstation, Dublin, Ireland (2018); Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland, Oregon (2017); and White Flag Projects Library, St. Louis, Missouri (2016). Notable group exhibitions include Wege zur Welt – Hildebrand Collection, G2 Kunsthalle, Leipzig (2019); Campi Magnetici (Magnetic Fields), Gió Marconi, Milan, Italy (2019); The Artist is Present, Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China (2018); I See You, Savannah College of Art and Design Museum, Savannah, Georgia (2018); Being There, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (2017); Past Skin, MoMA PS1, New York, New York (2017); and Things I Think I Want. Six Positions of Contemporary Art, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Germany (2017).