Lior Modan

Sculpting shadow

<em>Fingerscope</em>, 2020, velvet, fiberglass, wood, epoxy putty in cast belt frame, 18 x 22 inches.
Fingerscope, 2020, velvet, fiberglass, wood, epoxy putty in cast belt frame, 18 x 22 inches.

“I feel like art should be touched,” says Queens-based sculptor Lior Modan. “It’s just another form of transferring knowledge.” His vacuum-cast, velvet bas-reliefs depict ephemeral, dream-like interior scenes that are at once alluring and illusive. “All of my work is about the space between your eyes, your brain, your heart, and your memory,” he says. A dozen of these works were recently a part of CPM Gallery’s “Peer Capital” show in Baltimore. Modan watched several viewers spend time examining the physical qualities of each piece. “These works are a little bit like holograms—they keep shifting,” he says. “It’s really easy to get lost with them to some degree.”

  • Chair Chasers, 2023, velvet, foam, epoxy putty, cardboard, in cast frame, 15 x 22 inches.

Modan sculpts out of wood, sand, or epoxy before layering on hand-dyed velvet and vacuum-sealing each piece. “The works are basically monochromes,” he says. “They’re not sculptures. They’re not paintings. They’re not objects, yet they have ‘object-hood,’ and they’re very, very dark.” Modan finds inspiration from old books and everyday items around his house, but not all of his work is modeled from real life. He often relies on memory to create his fantastical objects. “They can be three different things at once,” he says. “It could be a fingernail, it could be a microscope, it could be a toilet bowl all in one. The images themselves are unstable, they keep changing.”

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Noelani Kirschner is a former assistant editor for the Scholar.


Please enter a valid email address
That address is already in use
The security code entered was incorrect
Thanks for signing up