Sculpture and the influence of E.E.Cummings and Isa Genzken

When the world was puddle wonderful

Isa Genzken wheelchair Saatchi gallery

I had 2 prime influences for this piece in my additional working through ideas and representations of the self. My initial influence was E.E.Cummings poem 'In Just' and Cummings writing in general with regard to how he sought to fragment language. His extended prose such as the travelogue of his trip during the 1930's through Russia titled Eime were also Influential. His writing didn't blow language apart as in Joyce's Finnegan's Wake but it did explore edges of the form which I always found intriguing in his work.

Isa Genzken is a German contemporary sculptor whose work in parts for me echoed aspects of Cummings process of discovering disparate connections between objects and creating new forms. Her piece 'wheelchair' influenced my addition to the core ideas laid out in Cummings work 'In Just' and I found the compatibility between poet and sculptor a useful rhizomatic connection that led to my own exploration of their themes.

This piece was again focussing upon the external body as a structure devoid of interior. I have spoken about this in previous posts as I am interested in Deleuze and Guattari's concept of the body without organs. It is a difficult concept and not one I am entirely familiar with but when they both refer to body they are not restricting this to a human frame. A body could be anything that supports the growth of multiplictious assemblages. That is acts as a ground from which rhizomatic attachments flourish. It isn't a flow machine hence its absence of organs but it does provide the ground for machines to connect into more complex assemblages and spread out making ever more connections and flows. Its a misunderstood concept and I am certainly not saying I am accurately describing its subtle nuances but communicating a general understanding that I built into this work.

Cummings wrote 'In Just' when he was only 21 and he spoke of it as a song about the coming of spring. The balloon man coming to his neighbourhood as a child was something he always associated with the arrival of spring. On the triangular corner where Irving, Scott and Fraser streets intersected, every year the spring thaw created a “mud-luscious” giant puddle in a pothole in the street. This directly led to my placing the sculpture at the intersection of a corner so it would echo this aspect of the poem. The elements which then became attached in a rhizome sense were those I became inspired by in Isa Genzken's work.

I was using elements from each artists language to interact with my own ideas about the body and its connection to time. It fitted with my earlier ideas of stigma in a sculptural sense although I was trying to formulate a different argument about the self and the passage of time from spring to winter or youth to old age. The medical devices I felt were further useful examples of my fascination with alteration or changes to the body either as a result of medical process or as a consequence of required support for a failing structure.

These pieces are all about exploring points of visual language. They start with a theoretical purpose and I then try and formulate some methodology or symbolic system to convey a structured meaning. It is often hard to pinpoint direct sources of influence as it is predominantly a subconscious process but it is certainly true to say one can pinpoint artists that one is engaging with prior to the piece and finding evidence of that engagement emerging in the work as one develops their ideas.

 

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