Mother and child (2001) Carel Visser

Otto Snoek
About the artwork

Visser came up with a beautiful design for a ship, but that did not fit in with the sculpture theme of the human figure. He then designed Mother and child. This expressive image is an assembly in which all kinds of found objects and waste materials are combined into a whole that is cast in bronze. The original parts that make up the object remain recognizable, despite the fact that they have started to play a different role in the final performance. The child is a cast of a baby doll, the round dense forms of which contrast with the much more abstract mother figure, which seems to be made up of industrial forms. With this, this work has become a very contemporary variant on the 'Maria with child' theme from art history, always with the child on her lap. But because the child here is a baby doll and mother looks like a lot of scrap, the work is mainly humorous. Some see this duo not so much as a caress but as a monstrous mother who wants to devour her child (which also refers to a mythological subject from art history: the Greek Medea, who kills her children). Theme and method of assembly make this image an exception in the much more abstract-constructivist oeuvre of Visser, although the treatment of individual parts in the space is characteristic. For more information: Sculpture International Rotterdam

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About the artist

Sculptor Carel Visser (Papendrecht, 1925 - Le Fousseret, France, 2015) has played an important role in shaping post-war art history. After studying Architecture at the Technical University in Delft, he visited the Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. In the period of more than fifty years that followed, he investigated fundamental sculptural problems such as construction, appearance, space and connection between volumes. With his constructivist oeuvre, he has won various prizes and participated in the Venice Biennale, the documenta in Kassel. His work has been purchased by various museums.

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