12 November 2006


AFC questions whether sculptors have some deeper understanding of realism than photorealistic painters do... whether we share some kind of secret knowledge that keeps us from fetishizing the mundane and makes our decisions around representation smarter. And while I would love to ascribe Wise Status to sculptors everywhere... there is no secret knowledge at work here.

Making a three-dimensional representation of a thing that already exists in three dimensions is a uniquely stupid thing to do, and because making anything is so much work, stupid decisions are usually abandoned before completion. Unlike a cellphone snapshot or even a flat canvas, you have to figure out how to make this thing that is in no way different from the thing itself... and that is only the beginning. Once it's made you have to lift it and carry it around. Find a place to store it.

I would argue that you've got to have a reason to do something as silly as remake something that already exists... and when it works, it works really well because of this very silliness. Working toward an exact representation of a thing that already exists can result in an act of Platonic Jujitsu.

Charles Ray's Unpainted Sculpture is freaky because it is a perfect replica of a very specific car--every single part was taken apart, painstakingly modeled in clay, a mold was taken of each part, it was cast in plastic, and then the whole representation was put back together.

And of course Duane Hanson works the deadpan absurdity axis like none other. What is the difference between wax Whoopi Goldbergs and these folks? The only difference I can find is that these are not celebrities.

Yeah... see, this Daniel Edwards effort doesn't do the same thing for me. It's funny, but it has the logic of a painting... or a wax museum piece. It's a representation of an idea, and the idea is not particularly spatial because Spears exists for most of us as a flat image and not a real thing in space.

The silliness of representing what is already there makes absurdity possible--it's a doorway to changing reality. Charles Ray's Family Romance above.

That's what Mueck's doing. I think these pieces work simply because they are big and real at the same time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this post (AFC)

13 November, 2006 17:35  

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