Thursday, 7 February 2008

Sculpture under working conditions

A pistol of grey marble is lying on a wooden pallet that composes a rough, yet symmetrical background. A clear image, it seems at the first glance: Figure on Background. But as soon as we regard how the material has been used, a paradoxical twist starts to turn the image around: How to connect the heavy weight of the pistol’s material with its (imaginary) use? How to understand the rough materiality with the clean surface in mind that constitutes sublime sculptures of marble? How to decipher the hidden narrative every pistol is pointing to – a trace of the deed – when the traces of work on the pistol itself remain so dominant?

Maybe a look on the second photo can lead us further:
We see the pistol with books, the classical arrangement of a romantic writer’s desk. This time, the background tells more about the setting: a working place of sculptors, a blurred image of other works and pallets that are used to carry stones and sculptures. The photo focuses on the works but does not leave the working frame, the working chain apart. Read from that background the arrangement of book and pistol tells about a transformation: the material that still carries the traces of its process of making is taken out of its frame, is transformed into a small narrative, a metaphoric scenery that does not longer belong to the space of work, but the sphere of art. Just as a writer might have left his notes and lines inside the books, the sculptor has left traces on the hard but smooth looking surface carved of the books; an own texture, an own style realized on a writer’s book, the old symbol for creative expression. The objects still show traces of the industrial act of machines carving the stone, but also of the intimate choreography, the movement of hands forming the stones by holding the machine like a pencil. The sculptor as writer, the writer as worker. In that sense, the sculptures can be read as a double portrait of their maker, exposing their hard materiality that needs to be worked on and the soft line of thought immerging in the act of transformation.

Let’s come back to the pistol: By exposing its materiality in a clear, yet paradoxical way, the pistol lying on a pallet questions its own classical, yet hidden discourse of stone and crime. By being part of the work arrangement pistol and books leave their classical frame and get closer to the sculptor herself, charmingly, ironically pointing out how sculpture is made “under working conditions”.

Let’s see what image will follow next.

(Text about sculptures and photos made by Alexandra Ferreira)

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