This week, we read “Blow Up: The Problem of Scale in Sculpture” by Barbara Rose. It states:
Modern civilization [has] produced virtually no monumental sculpture to rank with the great sculptural creations of the other high civilization.
It then goes on to ask “Why?” Is it the lack of modern monuments due to the decline of systems of belief? Is it because the materials & techniques used are unsuited to monumentality?
Earlier sculpture was always primarily a public art, an art of celebration or commemoration. Usually these monuments were tied to religion, history, & architecture.
Duchamp-Villon, one of the revolutionaries of modern sculpture also pondered on this
“We suffer, or rather sculpture suffers,from museum sickness…” He was prophetic in his recognition that sculpture had to come out of the museums and become part of the landscape once again.
How is it that we adjust sculptures meant for the interior to the exterior while prevent them from being merely avoid merely being an enlargement of table-top replica?
The next article “Scale at any Size” by Rachel Moore tries to address this. It states
Scale is always in relation to the human body.
Size is literal, scale is metaphorical. For Morris, the perception of scale is fundamentally physical, and is arrived at through an understanding of three key elements: the viewer’s body, the object, and the ‘space’ or distance between the two.
It then posits that what we see today is the replacement of content with scale. Many, including schools corporations & cultural centers cannot make the distinction between scale from quality.
Ultimately, it seems that scale should not be used to impress. Viewer should not be dominated by large sculptures, but be allowed to move around & possibly even through them.