DryStoneGarden

Plants, Stone, California Landscapes

Flower

Archive for the ‘sculpture’ Category

Richard Long

In Spain I also rode my bike through the Isla de Esculturas, a little island with an outdoor sculpture collection that includes a Richard Long stone line. That’s of course not me in the drone video above, I found this video on the internet after my trip, but I did that exact thing, riding my bike past the line, and I’m a little obsessed with this video, it captures my memory of that day and even something of the feeling of riding a bike through Europe. Long says his work is about walking, but I’ve mostly seen it as 2D-ish images, shapes he’s created in the landscape or in a museum. This was the first time I really experienced it as movement. I took photos of the line, and I like them, I like how it resembles the remains of an old stone wall you might see alongside a road or path, but there is a subtle but distinctly experiential effect of the line when you see it in person and I think you can see it in the video too. And also I love when the dog appears in the video.

Richard Long has been hit or miss for me, but over time I’ve realized that I’ve liked everything that he sited and built himself, while every time I’ve seen one of his works that was sited and built by other people — I’ve seen a couple of his stone circles that had been installed by teams of volunteers — I’ve thought it was lame. I kind of respect that after he’s finished a piece, he’s fine with a crew packing it up and shipping it somewhere else and then a bunch of strangers putting it back together in a new home, but I think it shows how much his work really is site specific and tied to his participation in an experience and place. Like the bad cover songs that make you realize how good the original is.

I thought the rest of the sculpture collection was pretty weak, but the island’s a nice spot, with several nice bridges and there’s a swimming beach on the other side of the river. I ate peaches and watched ducks and enjoyed the sunshine.

The Jorge Oteiza Museum

The day before Chillida Leku, I went to the Jorge Oteiza Museum in Pamplona. Oteiza was a mid-century Basque sculptor. He was friends with Chillida and other modernists, and his work overlaps with them and was influential, though I don’t really know if he’s well-known these days or not. He was an ideas guy, a lot of his stuff is interesting, and some of it is almost good, but almost all of his ideas seem to have been developed into better sculptures by other artists. The museum paired well with a visit to Chillida Leku the next day, though I don’t think Oteiza does well by the comparison. Chillida’s sculptures are much much better.

Oteiza started with figurative work and did pretty well with it. The works are pretty good but noticeably derivative, almost every one can be identified as a Giacometti or a Henry Moore or a Brancusi, etc… He seems to have realized that, because he gave up on figurative work and only did abstract work for a while, and then eventually he gave up on that too. I’m not sure when he got the idea of turning his house into a museum, but after he died they built a modern concrete structure around the farmhouse where he had lived. The building is — like the sculptures — interesting and almost good, with some odd details such as windows that only go up to your waist. (more…)

Chillida Leku Stone Scuptures

In Spain I visited Chillida Leku, the museum Eduardo Chillida developed to display his work. It’s great, a wonderful sculpture garden around a 16th century farmhouse and one of the best single-artist museum’s I’ve been to. Chillida is most famous for his work in steel, but he also did a lot of work in stone. The steel sculptures are great, but I’m mostly going to post photos of the stone and the farmhouse. (more…)

Basalt Woodcuts

Possibly the last post from my Euro bike trip last summer, Kolumba Chapel and Museum in Cologne. I’d heard about Kolumba because Peter Zumthor designed the museum around a chapel that had itself been built around the ruins of a church that had been bombed during World War II, and that church had in turn been built over Roman ruins. So the layering is very cool, and Zumthor’s design is austere and graceful; it’s one of the more interesting structures I’ve ever seen, worth clicking through to see the photos in the link. The actual museum was underwhelming, though, especially after seeing Scarpa’s Castelvecchio a year earlier. The collection on display was way too subtle for my taste and I didn’t spent much time looking at it.

I spent a much longer time in the chapel studying the wall of sunken reliefs depicting the Stations of the Cross. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, or at least not at this scale or in basalt. I guess there are precedents: some of the sunken reliefs at Karnak; there’s a Henry Moore relief head from his school days; Eric Gill did a limestone relief version of Stations of the Cross. The closest things are probably the woodcuts by Emil Nolde and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and other Die Brucke artists. Schmidt-Rottluff’s Little Prophetess could be a figure in one of these scenes.

The artist is named Rudolf Peer but I don’t know anything about him and didn’t find any sign of him on the google. My taste is sometimes a bit niche, but to me this seems way too good to be a one-off by an unknown artist. If anyone knows about Rudolf Peer or has seen any of his other work, please tell me in the comments or by email. German primitivist woodcuts carved in basalt… awesome, please show me more.

(more…)

The Hepworth Pavilion at the Kroller-Muller Museum

It feels a little strange to post about Europe when travel there has shut down, but, well, it looks like I will only be visiting Europe by virtual means in the foreseeable future. I was going to be doing another bicycle trip to Emilia-Romagna this summer, but…

This is another sculpture park I visited last summer, at the Kroller-Muller Museum. Very different from Kloster Schoenthal, but equally fantastic, another one on the list of the best sculpture parks I’ve ever visited. There’s a lot of good sculpture, but the highlight is the Barbara Hepworth pavilion. Hepworth is my favorite female artist and one of my favorite sculptors of all time. I like her drawings, love a lot of her stone sculpture, and I think she made the transition from stone to bronze more gracefully than any other sculptor in history. Everything she did was interesting and high-quality, and I give her a lot of credit for avoiding the late, phoning-it-in phase that Henry Moore went through. I’d seen individual works in a few different museums, but this was my first time seeing a proper collection. Fantastic.

A bonus is that the Hepworth sculptures are displayed in a pavilion designed by Gerrit Rietveld, hero of De Stijl and the Bauhaus. My photos focus on the sculptures, but I love the pavilion and think it’s reason enough to visit Kroller-Muller.


(more…)

David Nash’s Ash Dome

This is an aside from my posts about my Europe cycling trip. I’ve read a few books on Nash and I liked his totems at Kloster Schoenthal, but I haven’t visited Ash Dome and am unlikely to ever do so (it’s location is secret and apparently it’s dying of ash dieback). I only know about it from videos and photos on the internet, but I think it’s great and an interesting contrast to the Tree Museum. The Tree Museum is about the ability to transplant and display mature trees; Ash Dome is about the patience to train trees as they grow in situ. In any case, Ash Dome is a terrific project, and when I recently mentioned it to an arborist and a landscape architect, neither one had heard of it even though they seem like the exact target audiences for it. So… Ash Dome.

David Nash – Ash Dome from Culture Colony on Vimeo.

All three videos are worth watching for anyone interested in trees or sculpture from trees. The first two focus on Ash Dome, the third is more generally about how Nash describes his working process, compiling clips from a longer video about an artist residency he did at a college in North Carolina. He’s an oddly compelling talker. His idea of art as stiff and constipated or loose like diarrhea is not one I’ll forget any time soon.

You are currently browsing the archives for the sculpture category.