Bjarne Melgaard: Sugar Amnesia is about remembrance, relocation, and the presence of the past. For this show, I’ve remade a number of my more iconic sculptures from the 1990’s, including the Light Bulb Man. I especially wanted to revisit these pieces because I feel as if I never had an opportunity to really work with the material because of all the legal drama surrounding them. I reconnected with sculptor Mark Richards in London as he helped me model the earlier Light Bulb Man. Working from new drawings I made, Mark and I refined and tweaked the sculpture and modeled a new version that is both familiar and fresh.
Light Bulb Man is so essential to my work that I felt I needed to rearticulate what this sculpture means to me after 20 years. I think I realized that I just needed to explore it further. I also see it as an iconographic piece that retains its mystery; even so it still has this inner light that it always had. Perhaps more important for me, I feel this time Light Bulb Man is closer to my drawings.
In addition to the remade bronze works, I will show a large suite of drawings and I’m making a site-specific installation work that will feature nearly two dozen custom-made dolls from a specialty doll maker in Korea that I’ve styled and clothed. The installation is a sort of dreamlike vision in miniature of my current exhibition at Red Bull Arts New York called The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment. It’s a further exploration on fashion and consumption which I’ve been working with now for the past couple years. The scene at Rod Bianco moves out of the urban/suburban decay of the shopping mall shown at Red Bull and into the perhaps even more destroyed and fragile natural world. It plays on references I’ve explored about how fashion business profits by making everybody feel inadequate and how conspicuous consumption proves ever more disappointing and banal. These very strange dolls wear miniature versions of my latest clothing collections as well as some one-of-kind couture pieces. The project continues my collaboration with my creative director Babak Radboy and stylist Avena Gallagher, both of whom worked with me on the show in New York at Red Bull. We’ve created a kind of dystopian landscape where not much progress is possible.