Fri Jul 8, 2011, 7:59 PM
Early statuary depicted one’s god’s, and since the medium is
as much the message as the visual message itself – the medium had
to proclaim: This god is as forever lasting as this stone that His
rendering is hewn out of! But all that is solid eventually melts
away into the air, even the most powerful ancient gods and kings –
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
—Percy Bysshe Shelley
By the time of the Renaissance, sculpture had managed to evolve away from the more ancient obsession of
depicting the Gods Themselves (indeed, with the encouragement in the belief that statues of gods were literally
material manifestations of gods or at least housings for gods’ essences) and became more focused on tableaus depicting
epiphanous moments from religious narratives...
For the next few centuries, sculpture continued to seek an eternal permanence for human (mainly military or political)
heroes as much as for religious figures, to which anyone having visited the Lincoln Memorial or Mount Rushmore can attest.
But the impulse remained to somehow keep beings, whether gods or humans, somehow “alive” by capturing them in immortal materials
that would not crumble away as readily as mortal flesh.
Modernism finally released sculptures from the strait-jacket of being 3D portraiture of living beings or tableaux. Modern sculptures allowed
abstract expressions to take their place as solid manifestations, provocative and mind-engaging as Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings
on canvas. The desire to capture the essences of gods or great humans’ beings had finally evolved into the artist’s
desire to capture the essence of thought. The artist perceptions, to ours – the desire to capture desire itself.
It seems that modern sculpture is not about inducing a feeling of awe in the beholder, but being in the presence of a mighty god, warrior or king.
Observing is like a dream, memory or desire – suddenly becoming solid out of the thin air.
- Paintings can burn. Digital can be deleted. Is permanence what draws the artist to the medium of clay, stone, steel, wood, bronze, etc.?
- Does a sculpture, which must be allowed to occupy a more substantial space than a flat plane on a wall or PC screen, make a statement or create a provocation that can less easily be dismissed?
- What is it that personally draws you to sculptures and the fuels your desire to create through sculpting? What was you first experience with encountering and being emotionally, psychically affected by a sculpture?
I plan on revisiting this topic early next year by interviewing the leaders in the Sculpture community here on deviantART. If you have any suggestions as to the artists you would like to me to interview please let me know in the comment section. I will be featuring a wide variety of the sculpture community in that feature.
- Lucifer - The Fallen by ~RainerKalwitz
- Pieta by ~Fabiuss
- David by ~Funeral-Girl
- Percy Bysshe Shelley by *MarkSatchwill
- Ozymandias by ~Piratademonfrague
- Lincoln by ~BarbarShadow
- Mount Rushmore 7 by =Jamaal10
- sao braphaet song 7 by ~dreamfloatingby
- 'Swan' portrait detail. by ~dreamfloatingby