Future is Present

by Danilo Brunetti

An exhibition of new sculptures and collages by Sterling Ruby reflects on the perils of environmental deterioration. 

In the Gagosian Gallery’s latest exhibit, Future Present, American artist Sterling Ruby contemplates our acceleration toward ecological collapse. Six large, bright, and perfectly formed monochromatic droplets—monuments to blood, urine, oil, water, “total carbon,” and “greenpeace” respectively—are positioned atop matching Formica pedestals, each of which is inscribed with initials denoting the tribute in question. Installed in the gallery’s ovoid space, these forms coalesce as a chorus, representing the breadth of spheres—from the bodily to the chemical—affected by or further propelling environmental demise

An accompanying suite of small collages from the ever-evolving series DRFTRS (the title is a shortening of the word drifters) features watercolor paintings of rainbows punctuated by photographic images of bones clipped from archeological magazines. The examples on view in Rome—like others in the series—are both analytical and emotive, again combining social comment with formal experiment.

Inspired in part by the ruins of ancient Rome, the DRFTRS collage project—and the Future Present exhibition as a whole—manifests Ruby’s continued interest in archeological excavation, the cyclical nature of humanity, and all that we may still glean from that which is otherwise lost to time.

Rome’s Gagosian Gallery is one of the twelve eponymous galleries that make up the international empire of art dealer Larry Gagosian, considered one of the most powerful influencers in the art world today. His other galleries can be found around the world, in cities like Paris, Hong Kong, London, and New York City.

On until 5 February. Open Tue–Sat, 10:30–7pm. Via Francesco Crispi, 16. Tel 0642086498. gagosian.com

Credit Photos: Robert Wedemeyer