1997—Brancusi’s studio was taken apart and reproduced by Renzo Piano at the Pompidou Center in Paris. The studio is positioned behind unglazed windows. There is no physical access to the space, giving the visitor an analytical representation, but no consideration of distance. quoting The reinstallment of Brancusi’s studio or/ Looking at his studio from the
viewing window as a way to think about sculpture and photography. Moving the studio to the gallery. Reading the fireplace in Brancusi’s studio as the threshold of sculpture. The fireplace as an empty niche. Brancusi’s fond de toiles as a way to look at sculpture. the studio—the research—the work The psychological spaces of practice. Viewing and making, the subject/object locale. The role of the text as keeping it all together. The text without a body. Visual representation is made up of legible signs. Representation that loses its’ clarity and defies rational understanding may support cognition and liberation. Everything lost or disappearing needs a monument. Using materials as they are vanishing. Driving in cars enables the near past to disappear at the same time it is reflected on it’s body. The operative themes of the work move on and are replaced by other formations. The sculptures as absorbers of the passer-by. Emptiness in the act of depiction. Considering the dialectical relationship of photography and sculpture; double blindness. The classic forms of sculpture and the value of the newly rejected. Obscuring a sculpture with a painting. Never leaving, giving access to the archive.
empty niches/ghosts mirrors/gtos/decoys/delays/obstructions chapters
representing the body Carving the likeness of others, to sculpt or depict. The slippage of representation. Resemblance of life and how a statue teaches us about loss. Looking at the eyes, sculpture looks back. The gaps between carved hair, missing teeth, and extra legs. Veins, moles, wrinkles, and bumps: reading the neurotic details. The sunken eye vs a protruding eye.
representing the fabric Ruined fabric and veils. The wizard’s robe; carved fabric, fabric fabric, tears, creases, folds, and pleats. The wet t-shirt and mimetic cloth.
representing the process Carving moments into spaces. Aggressive mistakes. Notice to the unbuilt. Polychromed sculpture missing the original paint. Paint fading, disintegrating, and flaking, and the reconstruction of the whole. Virtual environmentalism and the imagination. On accidents, the unfinished and the undersides. Flattening and shattering.
representing the material Reading the gestalt of the material. The natural and how we see entire objects. Fake clocks, slow clocks, and faults: how to read time and the beauty of imperfections. The difference between cracks, chips, and dents.
Hacking away at mountains.
representing the stance Sticking out and sinking in; trees, logs, appendages, and how they act as conduits within the sculpture. Decapitated heads on bases. Liberation and weight. Embarrassed pedestals. Sampling body language.
The lamassu carving the 5th leg and the pov Creating a psychological and unnamed space. Composite figures for composite spaces. Funny things about opposing perspectives. Rushing towards a moment, letting the statue stand free.
Getting down from the wall.
The dying slave unfinished and misplaced Everything that presents itself is forgotten. Substitutes and contradictions.
The creamy visage of resignation. Nothing is more visible than what is unbuilt. Flesh and sympathy and crisis.
mary magdelene the changing face of the female figure Resemblance as drama. Crying styles. A figured figure, and a figuring figure. There are no symptoms without the act of forgetting. From starved aesthete to desire:
power/starvation/depiction/depth. Hysteria in sculpture. Dark circles, anorexia, and the flesh of the future. Where figuring is equal to disfiguring. Donatello’s Mary Magdalen and the women in Antonioni’s films.
medusa showing fear of the self Sculpture regarding us and itself. Following the pathic dimension of the subject. Seeing before knowing. The viewer as reflecting pool. The carving of a symptomatic moment. The ghost mirror. The uncarved eye.
Staring into a space with a void. Removing the object of focus.
the lincoln memorial the bookend Robert E. Lee and the back of the head: carrying his nemesis within his representation.
The past screens itself. How to use space to reinterpret beliefs. The invisibility of monuments. The buttons on the sleeve and the psychology of scale. The death drive and work of the memorial.
Afterword: six questions
How to see the sculpture from the place it never sees you. Shiny surfaces and the Midwest.
How sculpture tells a joke. What we learned from Buster Keaton and Tati.
How to not touch the touchable. Viewing and making and how to resist the haptic.
How to stand next to a sculpture. Being alone or being together.
How to live with a sculpture. Reading the architectural spaces around a sculpture. (the free zones)
How to pretend to be a sculpture. The uncomfortable openness of suspension.
establishing a relationship to photographs and sculpture 1. The opening and closing of space: photos of sculptures in a book. 2. Photography as the primary medium that figurative sculpture has fought against. 3. The sculpture photo as rend or opening. 4. Using a photo to capture a look, but not to historicize it. 5. Repetition and the case for Flickr. 6. Problem picture sources, using the photo to minimize the effect of scale. 7. Photos of sculptures and sculptures are not contradictory forms. When a photo draws on a system of perspective in order to produce 3d space, it opens directly into the world. 8. The power of the negative space: looking into a photo and beyond. 9. The shared crisis areas of photography and
sculpture: the narrative and the fully static. 10. Walking around a sculpture and running into a photo. 11. Painting as an assist to the relationship to photography and sculpture. 12. Tool trails, author residues, and flash marks, quoting quoting
Lists of plates
Statue of a Kouros [fake?] at the Getty Museum/Flickr. The Lincoln Memorial being built/Records of the Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital. Stalin statue falling, Hungary, 1956/anonymous. Two British soldiers
carrying a statue from Tut’s Tomb excavation/Harry Burton archive at the British Museum. Life Magazine cover of Venus de Milo, Gjon Mill/Getty Images. Rapheal Monti, Veiled Vestal Virgin/still from the movie Pride and Prejudice. Robert Mapplethorpe, Slave, rephotographed with the artist’s hand, gift to the Guggenheim Museum from The Mapplethorpe Foundation c/o the artist. Michealangelo, The Dying Slave, Clarence Kennedy archive/Harvard University. Donatello, Mary Magdalen/Flickr. Portrait of Aymard-Jean de Nicolay/Kimball Art Museum archive. Bernini, Medusa/The Capitoline Museum archive. Bust of Lauren, rephotographed, from History of Sculpture—From Antiquity to the Present Day, c/o of the artist. Photo of Joseph Stalin wearing a huge concrete coat, Margrate Bourke-White, Time and Life/Getty Images. Grief, by August Saint-Gaudens, Thomas Macavoy/Getty Images. Brancusi’s rebuilt studio in Paris, commission by Renzo Piano/Flickr. b&w photo of Brancusi’s original studio, by Brancusi/ Pompidou archive.