Soft Core

© Courtesy of Douglas Rieger and cadet capela
© Credits photo: Thomas Marroni

Douglas Rieger

March 18 — April 22, 2023

54 rue Chapon, 75003 Paris

Soft Core is the first solo exhibition of American artist Douglas Rieger in France. The artist presents sculptures and wall-hung works that combine industrial and wooden elements resembling anthropomorphic forms. His work is centered around the topics of sexuality, desire, and the ambiguity of the human body, which is materialized through the forms that are both seductive and repulsive.   

The work of Douglas Rieger implies the human figure by breaking it down into its individual parts, but it does not represent an exact anatomy of the body. The artist is interested in objects that can mean different things depending on their context. For this reason, his work often incorporates industrial materials that carry “a non-referential status with a bodily reference”. He creates his sculptures using materials that hint to various parts of the body: skin, skeleton, organs as well as the objects that decorate the body, such as rings, bands and hoops. Colors play an important role in his work, as soft tones combined with uncanny mechanistic and biomorphic elements creates an ambivalent and “politely perverse” feeling.  

His work depicts an “ambiguous sexual language” expressed by mechanical or bodily objects pressing into a vinyl-upholstered cushion. The contrast between hard objects pressing into soft material and soft material enclosing hard structure emphasizes the sexual tension of the work. Each sculptural composition has its own “psychology or persona” and is treated similarly as a body would be treated: “the works are pierced, tied, pressed, pushed, held, wrapped, dressed and undressed.”

The contrasts between seductive and repulsive, soft and hard, natural and artificial elements dominate Douglas Rieger’s work. Even the title of the exhibition, Soft Core, alludes to a type of pornography as well as the gentle and delicate interior of something. Through his “teasingly evocative” compositions, Douglas Rieger invites us to explore our perception of sexuality without any filter.