Mask Display Stand (Portrait of V), 2006

Martin Boyce
Steel, nickel-plated
Stahl, vernickelt
55 x 40 x 25 cm (21 5/8 x 15 3/4 x 9 7/8 in)
Works from the series Mask Display Stand are unique nickel-plated steel sculptures. While they do not actually hold a mask, their distinct shapes have anthropomorphic qualities, an association encouraged by the title’s parenthetical addition Portrait of…
In Martin Boyce’s oeuvre masks, made for example from industrial-type open-lattice steel or parts of Arne Jacobsen chairs, recur. This work however names an absent mask and instead has its ostensible display stand evoke a character. Transformed by Boyce’s vision of the history of design, his sculptures recalling utilitarian elements found in everyday life, such as fences, tables, lamps, or trash bins, sometimes evoke emotional states, as if they themselves were sentient beings.

Martin Boyce has reworked and reformulated iconic design objects, developing his own pictorial language based on a reading of the formal and conceptual histories of design, architecture and urban planning. In an extended act of homage, deconstruction and re-imagining, Boyce has, for example, assembled reconstructed versions of Charles and Ray Eames’ 1949 storage units (ESU) or created mobiles with fragments of Arne Jacobsen’s chair from 1955. Since 2005 elements drawing on Jan and Joel Martel 1925 concrete trees constructed for the Robert Mallet-Stevens’s Pavilion of Transport at the Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris have been an important part of the artist’s formal vocabulary.