SCULPTURE.. (for lack of a better title..(silly Beck)) :-)

October 12, 2008 at 12:38 pm (Uncategorized)

Auguste Rodin, (1840-1917)


During his early years, Rodin found great difficulty being accepted, his work was perceived as being extremely controversial, often criticised either for being too ugly, not decorative enough, or, by far the most offensive for Rodin, the accusation that he had cast directly from a model (‘The Vanquished’, later renamed ‘The Age of Bronze’) which was heavily frowned upon by sculptors of the time. Of course many pioneering artists are initially met with criticism, and Rodin went on to be immensely successful, creating famous works such as ‘The Kiss’ ‘The Thinker’ and ‘The Gates of Hell’.

I empathise with Rodin’s struggle for appreciation, especially as I feel his work is so inspirational and the magnitude of soft beauty evident in all of his work, it’s ironic that at the time it was criticised for being ugly. The genius of Rodin is that he can take and old withering woman or a face of extremely harshly defined features and allows the viewer to captivated. Such as in this piece  ‘La Belle Heaulmiere’ where just gazing into the face of the withered old woman allows you to witness her life go by, as if you look closely enogh you can see all the features of the young woman she once was. During my sculpture lessons, I have enjoyed taking something of beauty (the model) and transforming her into something that may at first seem a little horrific, but I hope to recreate that beauty through form. The curve of the spine, breasts, and bum.


Picasso (1981-1973) Although usually assosiated with painting, Picasso was also a very skilled sculptor.




Untitled (or title unknown) Picasso Sculpture

Untitled (or title unknown) Picasso Sculpture


 In this piece (sorry I was unable to find out it’s title please fill me in if you know!) the abstract figure is rich in texture, I love the asymmetry, with only one bulbous hand and the expression on his woe struck little face. Only an indication of such facial features is given but I feel this works well. The shortened nose and one little eye socket portrays a vast amount of expression, which is something I have attempted to carry into my sculptures, only just indicating facial expression and features through holes, rips and crumbly, fleshy lumps of plaster to really indicate mood as well as form.


Constructivist Movement (1913-1930)

The constructivist movement was developed from Cubism, Futurism, and Supermatism, Neo Platicism, and the Bauhaus.


Tatlin's Tower


 The Russian artist and architect Vladimir Tatlin was one of the founders of the constructivist movement. ‘Tatlin’s Tower’ or ‘The monument to the third International’ was to be a huge monumental building made from iron, glass, and steel, but unfortunately was never built. Although large models and drawings depicting how it would have looked are still on display in art galleries today.  

I feel saddened that this building was never built to all it’s glory as it would have been an immensely popular and beautiful landmark. The constructed elements of steel and iron contrasting with the organic scenery, grass, trees and sky would have been breathtaking. In my own sculpture sessions, I have enjoyed toying with this contrast, interlocking paper, iron and aluminium wire, and man made materials such as Styrofoam to act as muscle and tissue for my figure.


Tambm Iluminado

Tambm Iluminado


Naum Gabo (1985-1953) was a constructivist who dealt with the human form in an abstract manner such as the ‘Constructed Head’ series as well as his works made from transparent plastics depicting abstract shapes with the intention of defining space rather than to occupy it.


In this piece ‘Tambem iluminado’ there is great beauty in the negative space created in the lines between the form. As well as the relationship the sculpture has with it’s surrounding space. I find this a very interesting way of working and have tried to experiment a little using this method. Such as leaving holes in the chest area of my figures, letting the wire construction of ribs break up the space. I am also deeply attracted to Gabo’s constructed heads. I love the way he has taken such a heavy bulky metal and turned it into something very curvy, almost delicate. The negative space in the eye area is again extremely successful in suggesting tone and feature.



Table Piece CCCLXXXVIII1 by Anthony Caro

Table Piece CCCLXXXVIII1 by Anthony Caro

 Sir Anthony Caro is a contemporary constructivist famed for removing his sculpture from the plinth. I particularly love the way Caro takes heavy iron and makes it almost dance before your eyes, his sculpture often splashed with colour, movement and grace. This sculpture Table Piece CCCLXXXVIII’ is from a series of 388 table pieces. Completely abstract, the metal appears to speak a language of letters and full stop. The shapes created are intriging, forcing the viewer to twist and turn their head with the metal. In my own figurative sculpture, I have been experimenting with the  portrayal movement and flexability thorugh the bending and shaping of iron wire.I find this material quite challenging to work with but really rewarding when it goes your way! This also created some really interesting unintended effects when my wire ribs were draped in plaster, as after being left for a week the wire started to rust, caking the white plaster in crusty orange patches. Which is also another element Caro was particularly interested in working with. As you can see in this sculpture Millbank Steps’ (2004). 




'Millbank Steps' By Anthony Caro




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