A desire for a certain curve. Tony Cragg’s influence.

A desire for a certain curve sculpture with viewing platform.

This piece is probably my first sculptural piece that focusses upon one particular aspect of the body as a concrete separate form. I have covered in a number of posts the idea of the total body and the total self but had yet to make a piece that addressed in an external physical space a feeling about a certain aspect of desire that lay behind the wish for metamorphosis.

The piece is subliminally influenced by my reading of Deleuze and Guattari particularly in its lack of hierarchy or any sign of a systematic vertical structure which would suggest one aspect dominated another. The horizontal shape is meant to emphasise he idea of the in between so that one might argue that the sculpture doesn't necessarily have a beginning or end point. The curves suggest an individual independence yet move as a connected mass. I wasn't making a political statement about capitalist flows or democracy being a prison without realisation although I have thought a lot about those aspects of horizontal connections.

I used the idea of the flat hierarchy to build in an idea of looking down which is why the step ladder is part of the sculpture. One is meant to interact with it from above so that the movement of the curves merge and appear to be growing out of the surface (body without organs) that they sit upon or move across. I find the idea of asking the viewer to take a certain position in relation to a sculpture something of interest. In this case its purpose was to reinforce the sculptors neurosis about an aspect of them being viewed in a certain way. To request the viewer to look at the piece in only one way is meant to highlight the neurotic desire to be seen as we imagine ourselves.

The sculpture is about a self that is having trouble putting together a whole. It is fixated upon a certain aspect of itself that destabilises the whole idea of who it is. In this case it is the desire to be desired for a curvature that will somehow reinforce self esteem and re stabilise the self system again. Aspects such as this arise in gender dysphoria, anorexia and body dysmorphia and in the wider culture as minor cosmetic procedures. The whole self can become a slave to this single aspect of disenchantment and subsequently in severe cases can give rise to things such as dissociative identity disorder.

This points to previous discussions I have had about selfhood in which I have argued it is only a best a temporarily stable self model. These conscious models of the self are frequently under attack from external cultural pressures and the problem for the psyche is they are subconsciously mutable. Thus desire is constantly being formulated as a result of the pressures of an external cultural mass. I am certain my desire for a certain curve is not part of my necessary genetics but more a part of the environment that I see myself as separated from by not having them.

Tony Cragg's influence comes in his use of initially found materials in his early sculptural works and over the years his exquisite use of curve in many of his sculptures. His pieces are not related in terms of subject matter or context to mine but I did look at a lot of his sculptures to see how the curves flow and how they occupy space. He states 'I want material to have a dynamic, to push and move and grow.' This is something that I wanted to convey in my piece and looking at his work I tried with the most basic of materials to create a sense that the material I used wouldn't be bounded by the eventual sculptural form.

Tony Cragg is one of the leading sculptors in the world who works predominantly in Germany now although initially he is from Liverpool. His work to me does have a European perspective particularly as I see it more akin to continental ideas than English ones. This is my first attempt at tackling a particular aspect of the form in order to engage with my particular point of view. I sought to reinforce aspects of the discussion I have been having about the self throughout my posts so far but clearly as this is a first attempt it will hardly echo with any palpable sense of Tony Cragg's influence.

I think it is important to look at a cross section of other artist's work even if they have nothing philosophically to do with your own. I found in Cragg's work the beauty of the curve even though these were placed often in the context of vertical structures which ran counter to my own ideas.

 

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