Sculptural Remnants and Re-creations of Jimmy Page / Hyperallergic


Karolina Gnatowski, “Post Jimmy” (2013) (all images courtesy the artist and Lloyd Dobler Gallery)

CHICAGO — Led Zeppelin, man — they were so before my time. Arguably the inventors of heavy metal, the band reached their height of fame in the early 1970s with the song “Stairway to Heaven” on their untitled fourth album. Through the works of artist Karolina Gnatowski, now on view in the artist’s solo exhibition Lined Pages at Lloyd Dobler Gallery, contemporary viewers can experience forms and images of Led Zeppelin’s guitarist, Jimmy Page. Gnatowski’s weirdly gnarly sculptures sit like ducklings all in a row, leaning against a white wall. Made from a variety of fibrous materials such as steel tubing, wool, found sticks, brass hoops, beads, latch-hook yarn, and plaster, the sculptures portray Page in his various phases, from healthful right up to completely drugged-out.

The songs of Led Zeppelin blared, and still do, from supermarkets and corner markets, liquor stores and convenience stores in rural Pennsylvania, where Gnatowski grew up. Like artist Marie Walz and her ongoing fascination with Nick Rhodes, Gnatowski nods to the idol of her youth. The resultant sculptures are idle, non-wearable but fashionable objects. Deformed and defunct mannequins leaning against a wall and waiting for their display-case moment, Gnatowski’s creations are woven through, covered in buttons, and felted together. They suggest both an homage to and a disassociation from the celebrity construction itself.

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