To understand the art of sculpture one must examine both the historical aspects that occurred in a particular period and the techniques that were utilized. In Chapter Five of Sculpture Since 1945 the book’s author Causey researches the changes that distinguish minimalistic shape creation approaches from those that followed. The significant changes that occurred in the middle of the 1960s impacted the perception of the art form. Most significantly “the consensus that sculpture was generally made from a single material collapsed” presenting new opportunities for development (Causey 131). This paper aims to examine Chapters Five and Eight, identify changes that occurred to the art of form creation, and provide a reaction to sculpture after the 1960s.
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Sculpture in the 1960s
Many changes were adopted by sculptors; moving the art away from the simple raw material formation. Firstly, Causey explains the transformation that occurred to the artist’s perception of a sculpture (131). After the 1960s, a minimalistic approach to creation was interchanged for a more complex understanding of art. According to Causey, in the middle of the sixties, it was possible to clearly describe, “what sculpture was, what it looked like” (131).
Afterward, however, the focus and value have shifted from a traditional approach. Primarily any material available to an artist could be incorporated in his or her work. Thus, the main reaction to the chapter is a fascination with the aspects that distinguish the era. For instance, the usage of various elements is astonishing, as the art has shifted from utilizing homogenous materials to a variety of things that are incorporated into a piece.
Secondly, the presence of space and the viewer is significant in minimalistic creations. With the further evolvement of art pieces production, a different approach was taken to a process, as it became an essential part of an exhibit. Involvement with “citation, context, social space” was crucial to body art (Causey 132). Engaging a viewer in the activity of creating sculpture has become significant. For instance, a notable example is Morris and his work in 1969. The artist dedicated days to visiting a warehouse where he worked with different materials (Causey 133). He did not follow any specified idea or theme; instead, the objective was to participate in transforming raw objects physically.
In comparison, in Chapter Three of the book Sculpture Since 1945, the author explains the aspects that are prevalent in minimalistic sculptures. The time frame in question is the post-war period when the primary issue of development was moving away from the memories of war and its depiction (Causey 85). The human body was the center of attention, although typically portrayed in a disfigured manner. The art of the 1960s involved body depiction as well, however, in a drastically different style. Different implications and motives were present in the works, specifically in those by American artists (Causey 133). Thus, a broader, more inclusive approach to sculpture was taken in the 1960s, in which an artist could utilize a variety of materials and themes.
Overall, sculptors have altered their viewpoint regarding the portrayal of ideas through the art form. The methods of art in the 1960s are more interesting as the creations could have different shapes. A sculpture has transformed from being a piece of material formed into something statue to a more complex work as more elements were incorporated in it. The engagement of exhibit visitors has become a center of attention as well. Thus, the transformation of sculpture in the 1960s presents an important aspect for the future development of the art form.
Chapter Eight of the Sculpture since 1945 by Causey discusses the particular aspects that were prevalent to this art form after the 1980s. The main factor, which is astonishing to know, is that painting had become the center focus of the public’s attention. In both sculpture and painting neo-expressionism was considered to be a dominant style, which indicates that the creations in both forms had a similar style. In addition, an interesting aspect is a connection that became evident between sculpture and theatre. Therefore, the level of artistic development that can be seen in the sculptures of the 1980s is both fascinating and intriguing.
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An interesting fact is the topics and inspiration that artists used for their work. The sculpture of the era combined various preceding styles, including “minimalism, pop, and arte povera” (Causey 229). Additionally, the primary concern was a depiction of contemporary life through pieces that represent consumption and manufacturing. Body depiction remained an important aspect of portrayal, however in a different form than in the 1960s.
The sculptors created figures that resembled people; however, those could be described as “abnormal” (Causey 230). In particular, Gormley’s work as a representation of what became a norm in the 1980s is fascinating. The sculptor created figures that partially looked like him while simultaneously being similar to various objects. Gormley applied a specific technique in which he would be wrapped in a plaster material; thus, his sculptures were a vessel for his body.
Overall, the art of sculpture in the 1980s has drawn inspiration from a variety of themes, preceding eras, and other artistic fields (such as theatre). The depiction of a human body has returned as one of the central topics for sculptors. However, the creators sought to find alternative ways to portray figures (thus, sculptures that only resembled people or included some body parts could be seen at the time).
Causey, Andrew. Sculpture since 1945. Oxford University Press, 1998.