Saturday, 15 November 2008

Bronze Casting in the 20th Century

The World turned inside out - Symposium at Courtauld Institute

11 Speakers, 1 Day, a marathon!

Antoinette Le Normand-Romain - Authority on Rodin
Marble/Bronze - only two noble ways of traditionally producing sculpture. Saint John the Baptist, Age of Bronze - some of the most successful in his lifetime.
The Thinker - 1907, many (7) bronzes exist across the world in major cities. Meditation 1897 & 1914 - imperfections considered perfect by Rodin. Casts after his death worth less - as he could not of approved the casts. Showed that his decisions to use sand or lost wax casting depended on personal friendships with the foundries (people), frustration with producing Gates of Hell.

Sarah Wilson - Sexuality and the Sacred in the work of Germaine Richier - the Postwar French sculptor. Full Text. Monumentality, Fluidity of movement (wax), delicate - like the bat piece.

Amelie Simier - Jules Dalou
Contemporary of Rodin. Drinking fountain next to London Stock Exchange. Showed how after his death his will was to provide his disabled daughter with an income in the orphanage she was in and group of people went to his studio and selected works to reproduce - probably ones he hated! and then totally different selection made by different group in following year. Shows how they marketed him as a brand, even nice letterhead, signatures added after casting? Selling works to major galleries.

Derek Pullen - Head of Sculpture Conversation at Tate(s)
Medardo Rosso 1858 - 1928, Italian

Ecco Puer (Behold the Boy) 1906
Fixing ephemeral ideas in bronze. He found wax an appropriate medium, instant impressions of transitory moments. Fixed viewpoint - first impression he what he is interested in pursuing. In Paris late 19th c. only a couple of foundries doing lost wax, sand much more widespread but lost wax more available in Milan. (Degas - Little Dancer modelled in wax).Fantastic letter from Rosso to the foundry explaining in detail how to cast things without altering his vision! Created foundry performances in his studio. Survival in a durable form - legacy.

Jed Morse (Nasher Centre, Dallas)
Talking about plaster casts - as clay is usually destroyed they are the closest to the original work. Jacques Lipchitz - clay sketches but sometimes altered the work even at later stages after casting. In contrast Henry Matisse - far less plasters remain usually destroyed when the edition was finished. He considered not worth anything and a secondary part.
Explained how a 3d laser scanner up to 300 microns in detail can be used for conservation, custom packing foam and looking at the process of the artist.
Pablo Picasso - Head of a Woman (Fernande) 1909, photos of his studio by Brassai.

Juliet Haysom - just had a look at her website - some very interesting ideas
Talking about her most recent project, commission for Urban Splash in Bristol by Ginko Projects. In London public art everywhere! Hepworth on outside of John Lewis, Oxford Street and Henry Moore on Bond Street - must go and look at. Interested in sculpture being embedded in the architecture. Heating exchange system through the handrail. Trace of handling - polished continually, seductive qualities.

James Boaden - just completed phd at Courtauld Institute
Jeff Koons - Aqualung
Damien Hirst - Hymn
Tracey Emin - Baby Clothes
Gavin Turk - Nomad
Painted bronze - to surprise the viewer, material weight and endurance, monumental material - transient social problems (Emin). Mid century artists like Moore and Giacometti were using bronze - historic creditability. Artists after using welded steel etc so when Jasper Johns did the Beer Cans piece in the 60s, very unfashionable material and polychromatic stuff not fashionable in 'high' art. Following on from Duchamp's marble sugar cubes - 'Why not sneeze Rose Selavy?'
David Smith - Blackburn... - notes unclear what this work is in reference to!
Ultimate modernist painting - bronze support, both painting and sculpture. Seduction and repulsion - invite to life but also repellent. Meaning constantly shifting. Avant garde gambit - acknowledge current leaders then as in chess play a step forward to the front.

I don't want realism, I want magic!

Romolo Del Deo - artist
Come over from NY - the tactile memory of bronze intertwined with history - polished itself with use - reflection of time and history. Very passionate speaker about bronze. Frozen liquid in the shape of artists thoughts - must be able to touch it. Made me think of all the people who sit on the lions in Trafalgar Square. Love this piece by Marino Marini

Mignon Nixon - Erotics of Casting, Louise Bourgeois.
didn't really make any good notes. Bruce Nauman - space cast under his chair.

William Cobbing
Younger guy who made the manhole cover and citied it in Pompei. All about the Gradiva project. Physicality of burying an object in the mind - relation to rediscovery of the memory/dream - bronze process. I didn't know that the bodies in Pompei were actually negative spaces of air that were then filled up and cast to extract the shapes of the people.

Rungwe Kindon - Pangolin Editions
6,000 years ago first casts using arsenical copper (extremely poisonous), 500 year later bronze casting started. too much craft - slick, not enough - lazy, underdeveloped. Amazing range of work made by the foundry, enormous ambition! Was taught by Rob at Camberwell.

Proper abstracts about the speakers.

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