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How did sculpture go from this
to this?

Introduction: 19th Century Sculpture: Figurative and Functional

Nineteenth century sculpture was figurative and functional, and was dominated by the growing materialism of societies on both sides of the Atlantic.
Probably the lion's share of all sculptural commissions was directed towards the commemoration of important figures (eg. The Albert Memorial in
London), events (eg. emigration to America, The Statue of Liberty) or places (eg. Washington, the US Capitol building; Paris, the Arc de Triomphe).
Ironically, however, the growing functionality of art - most visible in the skyscraper architecture of late 19th century America, which required no internal
or external sculptural decoration - may have helped to pave the way for the introduction of abstraction. But before this could happen, the stranglehold
which traditional academic art maintained on the theory and practice of painting and sculpture, needed to be broken. Picasso and Braque duly obliged.

Cubism: Revolution in the Early 20th Century

The invention of Cubism (fl.1908-14) by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Georges Braque (1882-1963) rocked the art world to its foundations. Here was a
form of abstract art which (in its painting) rejected linear perspective and focused entirely on the picture plane. Despite the new semi-abstraction
introduced in The Kiss (1907, Muzeul de Arta Craiova) by Constantin Brancusi (1876-1956), and in Crouching Figure (1907, Museum of Modern Art,
Vienna) by Andre Derain (1880-1954), nothing had ever been seen like Cubism, before. Although painters were the first to apply Cubist principles,
sculptors weren't far behind. Works became more geometric; perspective became flattened and more fragmented. Soon, a whole new series of 3-D works
began to emerge. Examples include: Woman Walking (1912, Private Collection) by Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964); The Rock Drill (1913-14, MoMA,
NY) by Jacob Epstein (1880-1959); The Large Horse (1914, Musee National d'Art Moderne, Paris) by Raymond Duchamp-Villon (1876-1918); Man With
Guitar (1915, MoMA, NY) by Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973); Fruit Dish with Grapes (1918) by Henri Laurens (1885-1954); Head of a Woman (1917-20,
MoMA, NY) by Naum Gabo (1890-1977); and Torso (1924-6, MoMA, NY) by Antoine Pevsner (1886-1962).

There were three art

historical movements that
transformed traditional
sculpture : Italian Futurism,
Russian Constructivism
and Dada
I TA L I A N The futurists were a group of
Italian artists working between
FUTURISM 1909 and 1916. Fernando Lger
founded the movement with his
interest and enthusiasm for

Marinettis first manifesto of

Futurism appeared in 1909 until
the end of World War I.

Futurists embraced all that

glorified new technology and
mechanization and decried
anything that had to do with
Celebration of the machine
age, glorifying war and
favoring the growth of racism,
futurists declared a speeding
automobile to be more
beautiful than an ancient
Greek statue.

Painting and sculpture were

especially concerned with
expressing movement and the
dynamics of natural and man-
made forms.

Russian artistic and

architectural movement
that was influenced by
cubism and futurism

started in 1919

Russian sculptors Antoine

Pevsner, Naum Gabo,
joined founder, Vladimir
Tatlin in Moscow where the
movement began
One of the directives of constructivism
was to construct instead of reduce.
Prior to these movements most
sculpture was with a large stone or
marble block and artists would carve
or chip away the figure.

the aim of the constructivists were to

create sculptures suitable for an
industrial society.

this work ushered in new materials

such as wood, glass, plastics and steel.

Principles of Russian Constructivism

were highly influential in the 20th
century but for political reasons the
movement ended in 1921.

Probably the most important

movement of the 20th century
because it still influences the
contemporary art world today.

it began in 1915 in Zurich and

ended in 1923. For many it was
an anti-war movement protesting
traditional beliefs in art.

the artists were shocked by the

war and they wanted to respond
to the disbelief and produce
works that were different.

According to the artists, dada

was not real art, it was anti-art -
meant to be everything
opposite of what art stood for.

Dada was a movement in visual

art, but also influenced
literature, theater and graphic
design .

The dada movement developed

in European countries and
spread to New York.

Dada was a protest agains the

barbarism or the war and what
dadaists believed was an
oppressive intellectual rigidity in
both art and everyday society.

Nihilism engendered but the war

and the influence of cubism were
factors in the movements growth.

the main philosophies included

that the idea is more important
than the work itself and art can
be made of anything
Probably one of the most revolutionary artists of
the 20th century along with Picasso and matisse.

He was not interested in retinal art art that

was pleasing to the eye.

Most of his works were rejected by art salons

that dictated the art world at the time.

he signed his ppsydonym R.Mutt on an

upside down urinal and called it art. He mass
produced these sculptures and called them

He was famously commissioned to create a

piece of work for the city of Paris and he
ended up bottling up the air.

he defaced the Mona Lisa and penned it with

L.H.O.O.Q which was an appreciation for Elle
a chaud au cul or She is hot in the ass.

He was interested in taking already made art

and creating appropriations of the work.

Anselm Kiefer has been making lead sculptural books for over thirty
years now. In the 1970s and 1980s, Kiefers monumental lead libraries
became immoveable fixtures in the museums and galleries that owned
them. Characteristic of Kiefers oeuvre, the intransigence, fixity and
immobility of epic lead books was thrown into conflict with the
ephemerality and ineffability of the organic hair, straw, sand and earth
written on the pages of Germanys troubled past on which these books
discoursed. Kiefers books are monumental not just in size. They embrace
an infinity of materials, meanings, media and histories. They are about
painting, about sculpture, books, indeed images and texts of all kinds.
They blur the line between the symbolic and the real, the past and the
present, heaven and earth, death and regeneration, violence and
serenity and on and on. The scale of these works is inconceivable, and it
is not only their size and their ambition. But unlike any other artworks in
circulation and on exhibition today, Anselm Kiefers books hark back to
the possibility of the redemptive power of art, and in particular, of a
marriage between landscape painting and the book as an evocative
metaphor for the communication of collective knowledge.

In the lead sculptural books of the last 15 years eg. Dein und das Alter
der Welt and Fnfundzwanzig Jahre Einsamkeit (1998), Buch mit Flgen,
1992-1994 Kiefer moves outward from his earlier concern with the
traumas of German history, the charred landscape of Germany and its
cultural manifestations, concerns at the heart of his monumental lead
libraries of the 1970s and 1980s. He books begin to embrace the world
of our present relationship to images and books: he instantiates a
complicated marriage of image and word, image and object, a marriage
that becomes the most evocative metaphor for the communication (and
lack thereof) of collective knowledge, memory and myth today.
after repeatedly finding boxes of discarded
books in and around her urban environment, san
francisco-based artist alexis arnold became
fascinated by the idea of finding ways in which
to immortalize forsaken publications. the shutting
of newspaper and magazine shops coupled with
the onslaught of electronic reading leaves the
paperback in a uncertain state. arnold has artfully
reimagined their purpose as sculptural, adding
glittering, living crystal growth to their pages.
the crystallized book series addresses the
materiality of the book versus the text or content of
the book, in addition to commenting on the
vulnerability of the printed book!arnold describes.
the crystals remove the text and transform the
books into aesthetic, non-functional objects. the
books, frozen with crystal growth, have become
artifacts or geologic specimens imbued with the
history of time, use, and nostalgia. arnolds
crystallized books are presented at esther klein
gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from now until
march 20, 2015.
Samuel Levi Jones (b. 1978) deconstructs and manipulates books such as
encyclopedias and textbooks, to critically explore systems of knowledge and
power. In 2013, Jones began collecting the encyclopedias and reference
booksoften understood as authoritative sources of information, even though
they are sometimes biased and inaccuratethat form the foundation of his
current project. He tears the covers off these books and stitches the exposed
binding surfaces together in grids, which he then mounts on canvas. The
works recall the rational grid employed by Minimalists such as Agnes Martin
and Sol LeWitt. Further, the raw edges reveal layers of cardboard and fabric
and add textural roughness that evokes the painterly, gestural marks of
Abstract Expressionists such as Jackson Pollock.

The late 1970s saw the birth of books made of

fabric or paper with words of ungraspable
meaning sen onto them. Some are illustrated
with no writing. Others, the scalp books, have
threads that hand down from the pages like
tousled hair.

Maria Lai was born in 1919 and she was one of

the firsts to experiment with this technique.

Artist Alicia Martin's tornado of books shoot out a window like a burst of water from a giant hose. The
Spain-based artist's sculptural installation at Casa de America, Madrid depicts a cavalcade of books
streaming out of the side of a building. The whirlwind of literature defies gravity and draws attention
with its grandeur size. There have been three site-specific installations, thus far, of the massive sculptural
works in this series known as Biografias, translated as Biographies, that each feature approximately
5,000 books sprawled out around and atop one another.

Martin's giant book structures give life to the inanimate objects filled with knowledge. By constructing
the curving towers with a rather free and disheveled exterior, while maintaining a sturdy core, the books'
loose pages are free to blow and rustle in the wind, allowing the piece to be further animated.
SABRINA MEZZAQUI Sabrina Mezzaqui (Bologna, 1964) lives and
works in Marzabotto (BO ).

Many of her works are a materialization of the

passing of time, bringing into play the sense of
manual works in the repetition of little gestures
for hours and hours (stringing beads, cutting,
bending, drawing small motifs...). Writing often
appears in the works (in the form of short texts,
memoirs, literary references, rearranged
books...). Even her videos tell of slow times,
recording changes in the light or simple natural
phenomena like the dust near a window or the
stars reflected on the waves from the sun or the
falling snow.


all of my objects are sculptures. Making these

sculptures, I never disturb the book (only the
cover) and I dont cut or color the paper. The
pages are simply folded.

F O R Y O U R N E X T P R O J E C T:

For this project you will each be given an old book that you will be asked to
transform. Given your new-found knowledge of historical & contemporary
sculptural practices you can approach this sculpture in multiple ways. Think
about folding, building something from the book, or dismantling the book
altogether. Sky is the limit. This project is aimed to give you a limitation
and allow you to use your critical thinking skills to come up with a new and
exciting object. Also think about what a book actually is and how it is
becoming an obsolete object. Books have the capability to inform us,
transport us, and allow us to visualize the written word. You will need to
sketch out in your ideas in your sketchbook.

Li Hongbo