Untitled (1999) Joel Shapiro

BKOR archive
About the artwork

Although not immediately recognizable as such, this work of art is a human figure, the central theme of the images on the sculpture terrace. Shapiro builds figurative images with simple abstract forms. Abstraction itself does not interest him so much; it is all about the expressiveness of simplicity. Since 1980 he has mainly focused on human figures, which he builds with wooden blocks. It is formed from five almost identical parts of a shape often used by Shapiro: the beam, then cast in bronze, so that the wood structure is still visible on the cast block shapes. As a result, Shapiro emphasizes two important aspects of his work: the seriality of his images and the extreme retrenchment of forms that he uses. It stands in the middle between a human figure and an ingenious stacking of five beams. The bronze figure balances on one leg on the base. The limbs protrude far and are turned in relation to each other, creating a strong dynamic. The impression is created that the figure is light and mobile. At the same time, it ensures that the image has no clear front; the strongly changing views make the image interesting on all sides. For more information: Sculpture International Rotterdam

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About the artist

From 1970 onwards, sculptor and draftsman Joel Shapiro (New York - USA, 1941) exhibited his own sculptures, which initially look minimalist and later post-minimalist, but are much more intuitive and expressive than most minimalism. Throughout his entire oeuvre, Shapiro consistently conducts sculptural research into space, volume, surface area and openness versus closedness. He gave his sculptures an expressive power. Gradually Shapiro's work developed from extreme abstraction to forms in which human figures became visible.

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