Jon Pigott- Material, Object, Process

Today, in our Monday lecture period, we had one of our course tutors give us a lecture on objects, their materials, the process that goes with the making of that object and how these three things have changed over time. We began by looking at modernist sculpture such as Henry Moore’s reclining figures made out of bronze; how his work, and work of most modernist sculptors, is fixed, focusing on the object and its form, usually displayed on a plinth of some kind. However, in the 60s, artist started to play around with other elements in sculpture such as light, sound, magnetism, looking at energy rather than material. Alberto Giacometti is an example of a modernist sculpture who opposed someone like Panayotis Vassilakis, known as Takis, who was at the leading front of this new movement in sculpture now know as kinetic art; making use of energy over form and material.


We then looked at some examples of kinetic art beginning with Jean Julio and his “le parc” which is an optical piece of artwork that shifts as you stare at it. I really like this type of art and find it really interesting to look at as it plays with your sight and appears to be moving in front of your eyes. I like things tat create illusions in front of you and put you into a bit of a dream like state.

This movement in art explored the idea that unlike the modernist Henry Moore and Alberto Giacometti sculptures, form is not fixed and its about the material and the process applied to that material; letting the material and process dictate the shape and form of the final piece. This is concept which interest me greatly and I looked at in quite a bit of depth in my art foundation so I found it a very familiar concept to look at. Peter Vogel summed up this concept when he said “the way in which something has been produced shows itself in the final product. The way in which it is shows itself is what we call facture.”

So if we were to look at a timeline of sculptural art we would begin with object based sculpture moving on the formalist art and then mechanical art and finishing up to date with systems art which is influenced by cybernetics, and systems theory, it reflects on natural systems, social systems and social signs of the art world itself. We finished with watching a video by Fischli and Weiss called “The Way Things Go”. I really like this film, I loved how perfectly calculated everything was and there was this tension at certain points when and object was rolling slowly down or something was slowly untwisting; you knew what was going to happen at the next point and you were watching as the object moved slowly closer to the next object it would collide with. The video is below.


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