1954, Wallingford, Connecticut
Robert Gober is one of several artists who championed a return to figural art during the 1980s.
Although his sinks, cribs, baskets, and urinals appear to be appropriated everyday objects, they are in fact laboriously handmade. These faux-utilitarian sculptures often occur in series, their increasing distortions alluding to the absent bodies that no longer use them. In other works Gober employs fragments of the human body to suggest eroticism but also vulnerability and loss — major concerns for artists working at the height of the AIDS crisis.
Gober has often recombined his motifs, so that candles sprout from legs and drainpipes pierce through chairs. These works draw on a shared set of memories, but are far from seeming commonplace. Rather, the artist's alterations make them lyrical and uncanny.