Contents Introduction2 History of Junk Art Sculpture4 Chapter 1: Junk sculptors8 Chapter 2: Interview 116 Chapter 3: Interview 223 Summary27 Introduction From 5000 B. C to well into the 20th century A. D, most sculpture has reflected the wealth, religion or political stature of the country. Early Egyptian sculpture reflected the political regime of the land, and powerful ‘Pharaohs’ demanded monumental sized tombs and artefacts to show their wealth and status. At the end of the 7th century B. C the Greeks perfected castings of the human form to depict Gods and historical religious figures, installing pride and hope within their followers.
In Japan, massive sculptures proved the country’s devotion to religion and faith, but also reflected its domination of people. All forms of sculpting were so aesthetically pleasing e. g. gold, marble and bronze etc…, intricately detailed, and nearly all commissioned by people of power. So why in recent years have artists been discarding the skills and beautiful detail of previous forms of sculpture, in favour of using ‘junk’ materials, useless in terms of their original functions they were created for?
Modern Sculpture now seems to be the random collage of forgotten scrap, or is there deep intellectual thought into the selection of these discarded materials? There are still modern artists and sculptors who create intricate body forms and get commissions to demonstrate the mastering of their skills in art, but their art is not is not ‘mainstream’ and it doesn’t win the prestigious ‘Turner prize’ or get placed in the “Tate modern....
” Instead an old washing machine or an unmade bed causes the masses to turn their heads in wonder and thought.
What I want to find out is why junk materials play such a big role in modern sculpture? How do these materials help to carry a message when “arranged? ” To help me in my quest for knowledge I shall try to contact artists with slightly different views and uses for junk art sculpture. Research into the traditional materials used in more ‘ancient’ times and try to show the progression from old to new mediums. History of Junk Art Sculpture Junk art sculpture didn’t prominently appear as an art ‘trend’ until the 1960’s, although it can be argued that using ‘Junk’ in sculpture can date back to Inuit and African tribes.
In the 1960’s traditional materials of rock and bronze had become mundane for sculptors, and so ‘Junk art’ emerged as a progressive change to create artwork as everything could be sculpted. Modern junk art sculpture did not however appear in an instant and its roots in surrealist paintings can be evidently seen with the works of Dali and Picasso, where using objects in a surreal form became a visual connection between real life and the surreal world.
Junk art sculptures can convey surrealism perfectly to the public, and has resulted in junk/found objects becoming one of the most popular forms of materials for modern sculptors. [pic] Marcel Duchamp created surreal art sculptures which he called ‘ready made. ’ His work could arguably be described as the first junk art sculptures. Traditional materials in sculpture can be sourced back t
mud and clay used in the stone ages which derived from ‘bas relief’ pictures of animals etc… usually on the walls of caves.
Fragments of bone and ivory have been found with carvings and in the later stone ages had been carved into completely rounded figures (3D). When copper was the first metal to be found (as early as 5000B. C in Egypt), utensils and carving tools could be made but copper was still found to be too soft to carve rock, but an alloy of copper and tin was found to be much more resistant – bronze. Only then with instruments made of bronze did it become possible to carve softer stone (such as gypsum) and wear down harder stone. At around 500B.
C iron became widely available to sculptors, iron was much more resistant than bronze and could be used to carve hard rock therefore expanding the sculptor’s choice of materials to work with. With harder, stronger tools it also became possible to extract precious stones such as diamonds or gold and incorporate their aesthetic qualities into all types of art forms. It was this constant innovation of technology that allowed sculptors in all parts of the world to develop their use of processes and styles by experimenting more with different materials they could find or think of, including the use of metals.
It wasn’t just tools and metals that evolved sculpture and widened its choice of materials, the processes of plastering and ‘Papier Mache’ derived from the ease of manipulating very malleable materials to suit the sculptor’s designs. In western Greece a process of ‘casting’ was perfected in order to produce the most realistic models of God’s creation; ‘the human body. ’ The original shape would have been moulded from clay because of its malleability, and then a mould would be made negative to the shape of the clay.
Michelangelo in the 1500’s had a huge understanding of sculpture and even created his own tools, and throughout history Greek sculpture is revered as the most influential and innovative of all sculpture. Nearly all western sculpture for the next three hundred years was created from marble, bronze or other types of stone. In total these traditional materials had been in use properly since the Egyptians and no evidence suggests that sculptors tried to use mixed mediums while creating sculpture in this time.
In fact it was not until the late 1800’s that sculptors started to move away from using one type of material and to incorporate different materials together. In 1878, French artist Edgar Degas made a sculpture of a young dancer in bronze then covered the statue in a paste made from lard and beeswax to create realistic human skin. The sculpture was then dressed in a real tutu; another was even made with a change of tutu, this slight change from the ‘normal’ came under scrutiny at the time but is now looked back upon favourably as a change or progression of use of materials.
In the 1900’s sculptors had become bored by the original views of sculptures resembling ‘perfect’ bodies and figures, so the artists began to enjoy a new freedom
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