Art@Site Willem Kooning de Standing Figure

Willem de Kooning


Standing Figure

Jardin des Tuileries (temporary)
A beautiful woman
It’s interesting that our brain can recognize a figure in this shapeless mass. I think I see long hair, slim legs and thus a woman.
At first I have only negative qualifications for Standing Figure by Willem de Kooning: formless, jagged, disproportional, a strange posture, an ambiguous expression.
After looking a little longer, I see in Standing Figure other details: she has big eyes, a large and solid figure. The sculpture is made of clay; that’s a purely material. As a result, this is a convincing woman with her own character.
Standing Figure is a fair sculpture and shows both the beautiful and less-beautiful aspects of a person. Many artworks show only "pretty" aspects. Willem de Kooning is honest about his thought and feelings about this woman. This sincerity deserves sympathy and appreciation. All aspects are beautiful, even though they are in the eyes of many 'less-beautiful'.
By Theo,

Een mooie vrouw
Wat is het toch interessant dat ons brein in deze vormeloze massa een figuur kan herkennen. Ik denk lange haren en slanke benen en daarmee een vrouw te zien.
Standing Figure van Willem de Kooning roept bij mij allereerst negatieve kwalificaties op: vormloos, bonkig, disproportieel, een vreemde houding, een onduidelijke expressie.
Standing Figure heeft voor mij ook een andere kant: zij heeft grote ogen, een groot en stevig postuur. Het beeld is gemaakt van klei, dat een puur materiaal is. Daardoor is zij een overtuigende vrouw met een eigen karakter.
Standing Figure is een eerlijk beeld en laat zowel de mooie als minder-mooie kanten van een persoon zien. Veel kunst laat alleen "mooie" aspecten zien. Willem de Kooning daarentegen toont eerlijk wat hij denkt en voelt bij deze vrouw. Deze oprechtheid verdient sympathie en waardering. Alle aspecten zijn mooi, ook al zijn zij in de ogen van velen "minder-mooi".
By Theo,
Because of its unique appearance, this abstract sculpture by artist Willem de Kooning has a bold presence within the Tuileries Garden.
Key Details:
The sculpture is one of the most widely known by de Kooning and has been exhibited throughout the world. The sculpture alludes to classical subject matter but utilizes an abstract interpretation of the character and story.
Willem de Kooning was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 1904 and started art training when he was only 12 years old. He eventually emigrated to the United States in 1926 and spent several years in New York painting murals for the Federal Art Project. He won a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 for his paintings and in 1970 turned to work in bronze sculpture. Kooning is one of the most prominent leaders in abstract expressionism.
If You Go:
The sculpture is located roughly in the center of the Tuileries Garden within a parterre just north of the main axis.
There is a three meters high blob of bronze occupying a place in the grass of a garden of Paris's first Arrondissement. But don't worry the bronze is not molten it is not moving and does not pose any threat to those masses of tourists and Parisians who visit the large garden between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde.
I hazard to say that this is the best public sculpture that I have seen in an urban setting for a long time. Strange that the best public sculpture would come from the hands and mind of that great New York School modern master painter Willem De Kooning, instead of an artist working exclusively with sculpture. It is quizzical that this powerful and ominous Standing Figure possesses attributes and an aura of the hand held or intimate being a work of large stature. This comes from the nature of its creation. De Kooning made a clay sketch for this sculpture with his hands, most likely when the artist was residing in Rome at the end of the 1960's. Then later in the early 80's there was interest for his 3 dimensional works this small standing figure, was enlarged from the pocket sized macquette to its current size and cast in bronze. One sees proof of this faithful enlargement of the artist's hand in the form of a thumbprint the size of an adult human's head.
Standing Figure is not really a human, yes it has arms of sort, thin skinny arms that extend themselves outwards, reaching, yes standing figure supports its self with legs, a kind of thick stumpy legs, and perhaps standing figure has a head too, one of the large oblong faceless variety. Standing Figure is weirdly humanoid, startlingly familiar and bizarrely foreign all at once. This is a strikingly simple achievement of genius for De Kooning, artist who straddled both worlds of figuration and abstraction for years in a quest for Freedom. It is frightening to think of what kind of movements this behemoth would have if it could be ambulant.
Viewers of De Kooning's Standing Figure, who have also seen Urs Fishers Retrospective at the New Museum on the Bowery in Manhattan, will recognize the familiar process of blowing up a hand made piece of clay to over life size scale in aluminum or stainless steel in a Chinese metal foundry. In De Kooning's work there is no apparent overwhelming presence of commentary on Globalism, irony or razzle-dazzle sensationalist installation tactics, as was the case with Swiss born, Brooklyn Based Fischer's exhibition at New Museum. By Razzle-dazzle I mean, blowing up a hand made clay macquette in a Chinese foundry and hanging the large amorphous blob that weighs a lot from a chain attached to the ceiling so that the sculpture rests a mere few centimeters from the floor. Hanging as opposed to standing, the sculpture that hangs is made with an attitude of just because instead of because I can. These two artists who elect to do in affect the same type of process, are vastly different, one sees the painterly mastery of materials and communion aspect in De Kooning's work Standing Figure, made by a mature artist who was deeply in awe of the dignity of humankind. One can observe also the occasionally photo based eclectic ironic wry sensationalist installation practice leading up to Urs Fishers bombastic yet random just because sculptures with sophomoric overtones he exposed at the New Museum and elsewhere in the art world. One sees clearly in the aura of the artwork what is meant as an elegy and what is meant as a pun.
By Craniv Boyd