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  #1  
Old 04-30-2006, 11:08 PM
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Tandigon Tandigon is offline
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What is Sculpture?

I know you've been there before, (Do you consider metal cutouts 'sculpture'? September 2005) but lets try it again. Go back to the word itself 'sculpture' and also 'art' and check out their origins.

SCULPTURE (Lat. sculptura, from sculpere, to carve, cognate with Gr. yXb4ew) ,http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/SAR_SC...a_from_sc.html[/i]'

The idea of art as 'specialized skill' is far older than the idea of art as 'fine art'. This 'skill' sense has been in the English language since the early 13th century. And the word "art" (ultimately from Latin ars) meant 'skill' long before it entered English. According to an introduction to an art exhibition written by Professor Christopher L. C. E. Witcombe of Sweet Briar College, "The term for art in Greek (tekhne) and Latin (ars) does not specifically denote the 'fine arts' in the modern sense, but was applied to all kinds of human activities...based on knowledge and governed by rules. An individual became a painter or a sculptor, or a shoemaker, by learning the rules of the trade. http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/inde...?date=20011026

A sculpture is a three-dimensional, human-made object selected for special recognition as art.' Wikipedia'

The art of carving, cutting, or hewing wood, stone, metal, etc., into statues, ornaments, etc., or into figures, as of men, or other things; hence, the art of producing figures and groups, whether in plastic or hard materials.' 'To form with the chisel on, in, or from, wood, stone, or metal; to carve; to engrave.'
www.dictionary.net (Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913))


This is a 'Sculptors Community' isn't it? Then who better than us to thrash out this question. Let's go shall we!

Last edited by Tandigon : 04-30-2006 at 11:16 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-01-2006, 05:13 PM
ilona ilona is offline
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Re: What is Sculpture?

Well, I consider it to be any art that is 3 dimensional. However, I suppose if you want to be persnickety you could consider a painting with heavy layers of paint to have three dimensions. Even a piece of paper has a thickness, even if it's micrometers.

I don't really see this as an issue that I would lose a lot of sleep over though. Which aspect of it did you want to thrash about?
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  #3  
Old 05-01-2006, 05:25 PM
PAULHT PAULHT is offline
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Re: What is Sculpture?

I'm not sure the material really matters.
It's more of a position- a demand to exploit whichever material, to master it and transform it.
3 Dimension is an approach requiring the most and the best of the artist, spiritually, emotionally, creatively and physically.
A friend recently called it "gruelling"!
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  #4  
Old 05-01-2006, 08:06 PM
ilona ilona is offline
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Re: What is Sculpture?

When I moved out of the box and away from the wall, my work really started to take on a life of its own. Everything before that just felt lifeless.
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  #5  
Old 05-02-2006, 10:33 PM
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Re: What is Sculpture?

There is no issue nor problem. What I am indeed asking is for us to recognize that the term Sculpture now covers all forms of 3D art in any medium, and yes if it leaves the second dimension too, as in reliefs. Thus as we continue to use the term 'Sculpture' it would include those over which a traditional Sculptor has spent a lot of time with the clay, wax, made molds and mother molds, eventually going through the lost wax right upto the patina etc. It would also include 3D priints of RP, installation, etc, etc.

Believe me, I do not have an issue here. And I was trained in tradi but as another one of those outside the box, I am asking us to look again, afresh at the terms we use to describe our work. This brings us to a another level where we may need to redefine the term 'Sculpture' else we could use the term 3D art which could include traditional art forms.

"Tandigon, is that a sculpture you're making honey" " Yes baby, I'm shaping the hedge"
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  #6  
Old 05-03-2006, 08:44 AM
Studioinde Studioinde is offline
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Re: What is Sculpture?

Just as I think its Art if the artist says it is, I think the same applies to sculpture......this doesn't address the issue of Quality, of course, which I think is a more important issue than what we call something.
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Old 05-03-2006, 09:15 AM
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Re: What is Sculpture?

I'm not sure it matters what artists think sculpture is...

Art Historians will probably make the final decision..

Besides, museums and collectors have their own agendas..
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  #8  
Old 05-03-2006, 11:36 AM
Biomorph Biomorph is offline
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Re: What is Sculpture?

I think the term "sculpture" now carries almost too much baggage to be entirely usefull. Some agreed on subcategories might be helpful, however. Let's discuss, for example, assemblages, constructions, installations, etc as one category. However, I'm with Studioinde--I'm ready for a good discussion on quality. I think that there is such a thing. I hope one of the deep thinkers will start a thread that I can join. How about: Resolved, that the notion that there can be no qualitative evaluation of a piece of art is degrading mindlessness? Biomorph
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  #9  
Old 05-03-2006, 03:21 PM
ilona ilona is offline
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Re: What is Sculpture?

Ah, what the hell biomorph, start the thread and I'll jump in.
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  #10  
Old 05-03-2006, 04:03 PM
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Re: What is Sculpture?

I may not be able to define it, but I know it when I see it.

I also know a steaming pile of doggy-doo when I see it, and some of the stuff bandied about as "sculpture" over the past decade or three/four/.....seven/eight, has been pretty ripe smelling.

I'm a "modern tradionalist"....carved, welded, modeled...these are the preceptors of sculpture, and they stand guard at the foot of the discrete beautiful object (i.e. Rodin's "Balzac" and "The Kiss", Moore's work, Botero's bronzes, Noguchi's "Undine" or his "Black Sun" ...okay any of Noguchi's work..., Ditto for Nagare's catalog.... Hepworth, and on and on.....) Sculpture should demonstrate a mastery of a traditional hands-on, sculptural methodology and create a work of beauty....(it can be "ugly" on first glance or in the visceral reaction...but beautiful nevertheless.)

Anytime I meet a "sculptor", I always check their hands....the tiny tracks of tell-tale scars that, to me, distinguish a real sculptor from an overeducated academic master of the sculptural concept... Like Ilona, I value and treasure those that have walked the walk over those who just know the jargon.

Well, it is a beautiful day here on the Island....nice breezes to whip away the stone dust and keep the shirt dry...and the tan is progressing nicely... Keep smiling - Jesus Loves Ya'

Last edited by Blacksun : 05-03-2006 at 04:09 PM. Reason: typos...been carving stone all day & my fingers don't want to cooperate
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  #11  
Old 05-03-2006, 06:47 PM
ilona ilona is offline
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Re: What is Sculpture?

LOL...Blacksun, if worn hands are the mark of a sculptor then I am first-rate.

I agree though...what sculptor is afraid to get his hands dirty or messed up?

(BTW...You are only a hop skip and jump south of me. I am in SC just over the bridge from Savannah.
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  #12  
Old 05-04-2006, 12:09 AM
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Re: What is Sculpture?

"qualitative evaluation of a piece of art " Biomorph

I agree with you Biomorph, that such a notion would be mindless. However can you suggest some parameters on quality in a piece of art as guidelines in evaluation.

Do you think that these parameters could also help us decide what can be termed art / sculpture?

For example, in my case I make life like restorations for the disfigured (since the last 37 years) painstakingly coloring eye irises, or modelling anatomy and putting in skin detail manually. Now my younger colleagues use digital tech to replicate the iris, take direct body casts, use RP, or a photospectrometer to copy skin tones. Do I grudge them? Of couse I don't! The bottom line in this example is the quality of the product. Yet I continue hand painting irises, etc. Why? I love doing that is all!

"Honey, have you finished your sculpture?" " Yes baby, and now the bees are working on it!"
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Old 05-04-2006, 07:10 AM
ilona ilona is offline
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Re: What is Sculpture?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tandigon
"qualitative evaluation of a piece of art " Biomorph

I agree with you Biomorph, that such a notion would be mindless. However can you suggest some parameters on quality in a piece of art as guidelines in evaluation.

Do you think that these parameters could also help us decide what can be termed art / sculpture?

For example, in my case I make life like restorations for the disfigured (since the last 37 years) painstakingly coloring eye irises, or modelling anatomy and putting in skin detail manually. Now my younger colleagues use digital tech to replicate the iris, take direct body casts, use RP, or a photospectrometer to copy skin tones. Do I grudge them? Of couse I don't! The bottom line in this example is the quality of the product. Yet I continue hand painting irises, etc. Why? I love doing that is all!

"Honey, have you finished your sculpture?" " Yes baby, and now the bees are working on it!"
Tandigon, if you are looking for validation that what you do is art, look no further. You are an artist with a conscience, creating out of love for people who need your creations in order to live a more normal life. What could be more justifiable, or honorable than that? You create wearable sculpture.
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  #14  
Old 05-04-2006, 01:22 PM
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Re: What is Sculpture?

Thanks iLona
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  #15  
Old 05-15-2006, 06:05 AM
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Re: What is Sculpture?

Well, that's true that in our contemporary label society, defining the territory concentrate focus of a lot of artists. Like, re-assuring ourselves that we are doing something. It's natural. Sometime i'm in this mood, defining, mapping.

Sometime also, I just leap in the void of doing something which does not stand anywhere, (i.e. http://www.xlrmx.org/wiki/index.php/...glois/ChaoSCam ). not sculpture, not installation, i make an experiment and try to give pointers to it, explanations, mind links.

For me, it's an intellectual approach in both way, like a gym that both need to be practiced.

On the differenciation between hands, cracks, hu, that is a funny method, why not, these are your definitions and yours maps.
I just have to say this: Our mind is full of the construct that our perception gives, and shape it from before you're born, even in your mother's womb. What you have in your head is a construct so specific to yourself that you don't share it wholy with nobody. But you share parts of the constructs with other people. That's the basis of society and education: common references.
Well... if identifying "real" sculptors from others with their hands is your way, it must surely be the way of some others too. As surely, some other people use a different way to identify sculptors. Maybe by just accepting when someone say "I'm a sculptor".

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  #16  
Old 05-23-2006, 06:53 AM
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Re: What is Sculpture?

Speaking to a Greek sculptor recently, I was offered a definition of sculpture that related to the word’s Greek origins. He proposed that the term was intricately tied to the act of ‘forming’ or shaping. For this sculptor, this physical shaping process was crucial, as was using tools and applying skill, and probably working in a ‘traditional’ medium, such as wood or stone. Of course, time moves on, as do artistic practices, and the word is now applied to a wider range of activities and practices. It does interest me, however, that there are various three-dimensional modern art forms that are not called sculpture – installations, collage (not so far from 'relief'), assemblage, etc. Although forming and shaping, and even high levels of skill are involved, we don’t call a Damien Hirst tank of shark a sculpture and we don’t call Tracey Emin’s tent or bed a sculpture. There seems, therefore, to be limits to what we are prepared to apply the term ‘sculpture’ to in any one period. It’s a paradigm thing, perhaps.

Last edited by Cantab : 05-24-2006 at 02:04 AM. Reason: Clarity
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  #17  
Old 05-23-2006, 10:04 AM
Studioinde Studioinde is offline
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Re: What is Sculpture?

Welcome back, Cantab....yes I think that you make an interesting point about there being 3D disciplines that are not termed "sculpture". Each discipline has its own unique set of approaches and historical "baggage". There are questions that are unique to each discipline that must be dealt with in every new piece that is conceived. Purposely ignoring the questions is not possible, as the worked will be judged/critiqued, fairly or unfairly, against all work that has been produced before in that discipline. If you produce a "sculpture", it will be critiqued against every other sculpture ever produced, and by the parameters and questions unique to that discipline. I think it is wise for some artists to produce/conceive of 3D work that is not termed "sculpture". They can then distance themselves from the baggage that comes with the term, and therefore confront other questions with their work. On the other hand, some of these more recent disciplines, installation, assemblage, etc., just seem to be subcategories, and still must answer the same unavoidable questions......
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Old 05-24-2006, 02:15 AM
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Re: What is Sculpture?

"If you produce a "sculpture", it will be critiqued against every other sculpture ever produced, and by the parameters and questions unique to that discipline. I think it is wise for some artists to produce/conceive of 3D work that is not termed "sculpture". They can then distance themselves from the baggage that comes with the term." - Studioinde
Excellently expressed, and wise too.
It may be of interest to know that, in Italy, there is also a distinction made between 'sculpture' and 'statuary', with sculpture being an art form and statuary a craft. I think there are elements of this in other cultures too. I came across it originally when I was working on a Madonna bust in Carrara and a visitor said she liked my sculpture. The studio owner was quick to correct this, saying that it was statuary, not sculpture! (Naturally I was offended!). Of course, this raises questions - is Marc Quinn's 'Alison Lapper' or 'Kate Moss' not sculpture/art, then, is it just statuary? And when does figurative art become statuary? And when is not NOT statuary?!!! All this, of course, relates to the long tradition of 'the statue'.

Last edited by Cantab : 05-25-2006 at 02:20 AM.
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Old 05-31-2006, 12:42 PM
Studioinde Studioinde is offline
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Re: What is Sculpture?

Wow, that is a distinction I wasn't fully aware of. Does the distinction hinge on originality? I would call original work sculpture, and copies based on existing works "statuary", regardless of other distinctions like figurative vs. abstract, etc. This distinction breaks down however when you consider castings done from molds posthumously, like is done for example with some of Rodin's pieces, as well as other well known sculptors who are no longer with us. In the U.S., statuary has a negative connotation, due to cast concrete birdbaths, fountains, and lawn ornaments that are all advertised as statuary. I'm not sure if this is the same elsewhere......was your madonna a copy of an existing sculpture or an original composition?
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Old 05-31-2006, 01:21 PM
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Tandigon Tandigon is offline
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Re: What is Sculpture?

Why don't we just call what we do as 3D art to be all inclusive? Thus whether you are carving, forging, welding, constructing, installing etc are means to an end, which is an art piece. For those who prefer to appreciate the skills involved in the means, the figurative skills, patinas, etc can be satisfied. While those who prefer contemporary art from assemblages to installations will also have their pick. Let the art critics pick it up from there.

There is another issue I'd like to address. We seem to be able to seperate our 3D art from the utilitarian. Can we not have more influence on items of utility. Why should art generally be something to be only admired or to decorate? Can we not integrate art into everyday life?

'Tandigon honey, what is this log of wood doing here?' " It's my footstool baby"
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Old 05-31-2006, 10:59 PM
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fritchie fritchie is offline
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Re: What is Sculpture?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oddist
I'm not sure it matters what artists think sculpture is...

Art Historians will probably make the final decision..

Besides, museums and collectors have their own agendas..
Another semantic discussion. I usually run the other way when I confront discussions like this, but they're not entirely useless. However, I think Oddist’s observations, based on pragmatism, offer the best approach to someone who wants to get work done.

To amplify his points a bit - museums, art magazines, galleries, individual artists or groups of artists - anyone or any group with a financial stake - will work to pull the market toward them. That’s only natural and reasonable, of course, but today it’s practiced to an extreme degree, and theoreticians beware.

On some other issues: I just checked New World Dictionary, College Edition, and a few matters may be considered. As many above have said, “art” in general means “well-done”, whether by an “artist” or a carpenter. This dictionary relates “art” to the Indoeuropean “ar”, meaning to join or put together, with “arm” as example. “Sculpture” is from the Latin “to carve”, with other means of forming added in our modern world. “Statue” is from the Latin “to stand” or “to place”.

So, “art” relates to quality in any form, “sculpture” long ago departed from the original sense of “to carve”, and “statue’ or “statuary” seems genuinely to be grounded to the sense of that Italian commentator.

It seems to me the real value in semantics is its ability to stretch the mind by offering new avenues for human activity, i. e., new concepts which may be actualized as new opportunities arise through technology or simple happenstance.
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Old 06-01-2006, 02:08 AM
upsidedownpi upsidedownpi is offline
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Re: What is Sculpture?

Interesting thread...

And for the most part I agree with all involved.
(Here comes my big but)
BUT, and I'm sure most of us will agree that sculpture includes time, so is four dimentional. Seems like a small point, but each dimension introduces vastly different aspects... like the afore mentioned crusty hands!
(Still, if anyone knows of a truly 3D sculpture I'd like to know about it.)

I ain't tryin' to be no Mr. Correcto-know-it-all. I just love what we do.

upsidedownpi.

Anyone up on nanotechnology as pertains to sculpture
(beyond the micro horse & bull web-site)?
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Old 06-01-2006, 09:59 PM
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fritchie fritchie is offline
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Re: What is Sculpture?

Pi - What you are saying technically is correct, but in fact the intent or the concept of essentially all sculpture before, I believe, Calder, was 3D. That is, it was conceived as a static, essentially 3D or time-independent object. Any effect of time was to cause decay, change in patina, corrosion, or so on.

Further, your statement essentially expresses the fact that sculpture occupies the same universe we do, which according to Einstein is 4D. Theorists today propose that our universe may have six to twenty or more dimensions.
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Old 06-02-2006, 03:15 AM
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Re: What is Sculpture?

[quote=upsidedownpi]Interesting thread...

I'm sure most of us will agree that sculpture includes time, so is four dimentional. Seems like a small point, but each dimension introduces vastly different aspects.
(Still, if anyone knows of a truly 3D sculpture I'd like to know about it.) QUOTE]

In that case, a drawing or painting is 3D art. Time, concepts, aesthetic experiences, etc are intangible and can have dimensions of their own. The products we make occupy x by y, or x by y by z.

The point of this discussion "What is Sculpture?" was to see if we can redefine what we do.
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Old 06-02-2006, 12:27 PM
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Re: What is Sculpture?

Sorry !

Quote:
Originally Posted by upsidedownpi
Interesting thread...

And for the most part I agree with all involved.
(Here comes my big but)
BUT, and I'm sure most of us will agree that sculpture includes time, so is four dimentional. Seems like a small point, but each dimension introduces vastly different aspects... like the afore mentioned crusty hands!
(Still, if anyone knows of a truly 3D sculpture I'd like to know about it.)

I ain't tryin' to be no Mr. Correcto-know-it-all. I just love what we do.

upsidedownpi.

Anyone up on nanotechnology as pertains to sculpture
(beyond the micro horse & bull web-site)?
In that case, a drawing or painting is 3D art. Time, concepts, aesthetic experiences, etc are intangible and can have dimensions of their own. The products we make occupy x by y, or x by y by z.

The point of this discussion "What is Sculpture?" was to see if we can redefine what we do.
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