Berlin Art@Site Joel Shapiro Zwei Figuren Two Figures

Joel Shapiro


Zwei Figuren

great laugh
This dancing guy is the most effective way to conjure a smile on someone's face. It consists of only five bars which are smartly located.
The legs are onder a right angle, in such a way that we would have our muscles ached. By the right-angle between the torso and the arm we recognize our autistic defects. The angle on which the second arm is placed make us clear that we deviate from the norm a little too often.
Delicious, great laugh.
By Theo,

lekker lachen
Dit dansende mannetje is het meest effectieve manier om een glimlach op iemands gezicht te toveren. Het bestaat maar uit vijf balken, die op een uitgekiende plek zitten.
De benen staan onder een haakse hoek, op zo’n manier dat wij spierpijn zouden krijgen. Door de haakse hoek tussen de torso en een arm herkennen wij onze autistische gebreken. De hoek waaronder de tweede arm geplaatst is maakt duidelijk dat wij iets te vaak afwijken van de norm.
Heerlijk, lekker lachen.
Door Theo,

H.W. Janson, Anthony Janson (2004):
The leading representative of Post-Minimalism is Joel Shapiro (b. 1941). Post-Minimalism means the gradually moving away from Minimalism without abondoning it altogether.
After producing small pieces having great conceptual intensity and aeshetic power, Shapiro suddenly began to make sculptures of simple wood beams that refer to the human figure but do not directly represent it. They assume active "poses", some standing awkwardly off-balance, others dancing or tumbling, so that they charge the space around them with energy.
Shapiro soon began casting them in bronze, which retains the texture of the rough wood grain. These pieces reassert the traditional craft of sculptrue in being hand-finished with a beautiful patina by skilled artisans.
By freely rearranging the vocalulary of David Smith, who experimented with such a figure before his death, Shapiro gave Minimalist sculpture a new lease on life. Nevertheless, his work remains one of the few successful attempts at reviving contemporary sculpture, which as a whole has found it difficult to chart a new direction.
When it comes to whimsy, exuberance and pizzazz, the sky’s the limit for Joel Shapiro.
Shapiro does not reject the anthropo-morphic basis of most traditional sculpture. His sculpture does not resist symbolic readings, even though his work has a formalist bent. All his works are untitled, even the ones that instantly remind us of the human figure. Subjects are evoked, but not always assertively. The welded rectangular blocks somewhat or closely resemble organic forms: trees, roots, human figures. They also represent lines of force, bursts of energy emanating from an invisible source and drifting toward the perimeters.
While it may be that, like seeing shapes in clouds, making correspondences between his sculptures and common objects in the world is cognitively empty, it is nonetheless the case that Shapiro manipulates figuration and plays with our powers of recognition. The reduction of means relates to Shapiro’s poetic worldview. In the early 1900s Suprematists and Cubists painted or drew figures consisting of squares (the pelvis, stomach, chest and shoulders) and rectangles (arms, legs and an emaciated block head). Suprematists used squares, circles and rectangles to create a complex symbolic language. Shapiro’s figures are not inspired by a revolutionary zeal or longing for a philosopher’s paradise. In fact, one of the most interesting things about Shapiro’s work is the way in which the viewer projects human qualities on to geometric structures.
Shapiro emphasizes contingency and the sculptures in this exhibit that do not resemble figures are abstract assemblages reminiscent of the pieces in David Smith’s Cubi series. Smith’s totemic and animated, polished and scumbled stainless-steel sculptures consist of squares and rectangles. Smith, like Shapiro used a limited assortment of shapes to build complex arrangements. The impersonality of Shapiro’s sculptures lends a bit of Easter Island mystery and primitive gusto to them. He provides minimal details and little or no surface texture. The twists and turns made by his forms conjure up cubist simultaneity, and involve the compression of many different points of view.
Barbara Rose, commenting on Post-Minimalist sculpture in her book Autocritique stated that 'it lies around passively and dismally, defensively retreating from engagement with the environment rather than actively and aggressively demanding confrontation.' Shapiro avoids the typical pitfalls of Minimalism, aloofness to the point of absurdity, rejection of metaphor, and a pretentious monotonousness, by transforming rectangles into active figures. His block people tumble, run, lurch and leap. They are braced for action or in the midst of doing something, and this activates the space around them. Dan Flavin devised a way to engage the spaces surrounding the art object. His sculptures literally shed light upon the walls, floor and ceiling. They force the viewer to consider the entire context the art object exists in. Shapiro does the same by making forms that are reminiscent of the human figure. Some of the sculptures are assertively humanoid and resemble the crisp black figures on roadsigns. Perhaps they represent 'anonymous human units of mass society.' Shapiro countered Minimalist anonymity with figuration and asymmetry. As Max Kozloff stated in his book Cubism/Futurism, 'Because we are so egocentric in our nervous, muscular, and social identifications with it, the image of the human body can become a remarkable index of meaning in the work of an artist…' These sculptures also push people away from them because of their explosive quality and the way in which they threaten to topple over. We anxiously await the fall.
Joel Shapiro (born September 27, 1941 New York City, New York) is an American sculptor renowned for his dynamic work composed of simple rectangular shapes. The artist is classified as a Minimalist as demonstrated in his works, which were mostly defined through the materials used, without allusions to subjects outside of the works. He lives and works in New York City. He is married to the artist Ellen Phelan.
While serving his Peace Corp time in India, Shapiro saw many Indian art works, and has said that "India gave me the sense of ... the possibility of being an artist." In India "Art was pervasive and integral to the society", and he has said that "the struggle in my work to find a structure that reflects real psychological states may well use Indian sculpture as a model." His early work, which also drew inspiration from Greek art, is characterized by some by its small size, but Shapiro has discounted this perception, describing his early works as, "all about scale and the small size was an aspect of their scale". He described scale as "A very active thing that's changing and altering as time unfolds, consciously or unconsciously," and, "a relationship of size and an experience. You can have something small that has big scale." In these works he said that he was trying "to describe an emotional state, my own longing or desire". He also said that during this early period in his career he was interested in the strategies of artists Robert Morris, Richard Serra, Carl Andre, and Donald Judd.
By the 1980s, Shapiro began to explore larger and life-size forms in pieces that were still reminiscent of Indian and Greek sculpture but also inspired by the early modernist works by Edgar Degas and Constantin Brâncusi. The bulk of these pieces have been commissioned or acquired by museums and galleries. Later, Shapiro further expanded his repertoire by creating pieces that depicted the dynamism of human form. For instance, his subjects were portrayed in the act of dancing, crouching, and falling, among others that explored the themes of balance, cantilever, projection, and compression. His later works can have the appearance of flying, being impossibly suspended in space, and/or defying gravity. He has said about this shift in his work that he "wanted to make work that stood on its own, and wasn't limited by architecture and by the ground and the wall and right angles." These can be demonstrated in the case of the large-size outdoor art he made for the Hood Museum of Art. The bronze piece was an attenuated form that leans over a walkway and its near-falling form is viewed as an energizing element in the museum's courtyard. This sculpture, like all of Shapiro's mature works, are untitled.