Sculptural Strategies for Repurposed Objects
(Notes cribbed from Prof. Paolo Pedercini.)
Let’s look at some well known sculptures that incorporate found objects (or reproductions of everyday objects) and analyze how they operate formally:
Lobster Telephone by Salvador Dali: Shape analogy; mimicry (as in: an object tries to be something else); sculptural mashup; natural / artificial contrast.
Subject, Object, Abject by Jaime Pitarch (2006). Deconstruction, and evidence of the process of deconstruction.
Consonance by Grant Aston. Deconstruction and reassembly.
Cadeau by Man Ray: Making a functional object unusable.
Sisyphus Sport by Jana Sterbak: Making a non functional object “usable”
Forever Bicycles – Ai WeiWei: Symmetry, accumulation, cloning (orderly).
Untitled by Doris Salcedo: Accumulation (disorderly), monumental.
Sculptures by Mike Kelley: Accumulation, by material/type and color
Controller of the Universe by Damián Ortega. Accumulation and composition, by category/quality.
Some/One by Do Ho Suh: Accumulation (structured). Based on a coat of traditional Asian armor, this sculpture is composed from thousands of polished military dog tags. As the title indicates, the work juxtaposes the collective-represented by the armored sculpture-and the individual-symbolized by the dog tags, each representing a single soldier.
Sculptures by Tara Donovan (made of styrofoam cups): Accumulation (structured).
“Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Accumulation (disorderly); abstract/conceptual (objects as portrait); participatory; unmonumental.
González-Torres’ partner Ross Laycock was diagnosed with AIDS, and died of it the same year as “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.)’s creation. The pile of candies weighs 175 pounds—Laycock’s body weight when healthy. Viewers are encouraged to take a piece, and the artwork’s owner is to decide if it will be replenished.
Au Naturel by Sarah Lucas: Innuendo, abstraction, “portraiture”. Can you make a portrait with objects?
Spoonbridge and Cherry by Claes Oldenburg: Scale (not a found object, obviously).
Wim Delvoye – Dump Truck: High culture / low culture contrast. (Style transfer?)
Biophilia, Lynn Aldrich: Assemblage; artificial / natural contrast; visual correspondences.
L.O.V.E. by Maurizio Cattelan. Reference (to art history classic statue, roman salute); subtraction and sectioning; context (stock exchange, fascist building).
Yayoi Kusama’s pumpkins: Change of material, scale, texture.
Balloon Dog by Jeff Koons: Change of material (and scale).