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Kara Uzelman, Cavorite Music Box, 2009,

Jens Ziehe

Kara Uzelman's enigmatic work consists of a bejewelled abstract sculpture made out of cardboard (it wears an earring-like accumulation consisting of a magnetized bottle opener, a bottle cap, a dime, some safety pins and a paper clip) perched atop a Plexiglas plinth. A blob of reconstituted copper nuggets sits at the base. The presentation suggests preciousness (reminding one of New York-based Canadian David Altmejd, another master of this genre), but her materials couldn't be more rubbishy. The joinery of her cardboard sculpture is crude - we see her pencil marks, tape and glue - and its form alludes faintly to the Cubist modernism of the early 20th century: namely, the assemblages of Picasso, and the purposefully shabby improvisations of Kurt Schwitters, whose sprawling Merzbau installation of "spoils and relics" in a Hanover apartment (begun in 1933 and destroyed in an Allied air raid) was the apotheosis of grunge.

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