On my travels, I came across this sculptor's works. It's a very refreshing and light-hearted style, I really couldn't help but blog a little about his work.
Have any of you heard of biodegradable art? I have. Now I'm going to blog about it :-)
Dieter Roth, a sculptor from Iceland used to have a unique way of creating his sculpted works. Interestingly enough, he fueled a curiosity for his "recycled media", by way of being different from your run of the mill sculptor. Roth was sometimes known as "Dieter Rot" because of his creations that made use of biodegradable media. Pictured below is one sculpture you may find a bit strange, yet curiously befuddled by.
The title of this work is "Rabbit Shit Rabbit" from 1972. He also made 250 editions of this piece as well. Don't be fooled though by the comedic title, Roth's many other works were also taken in very impressively by his peers. Today there's a congregation every year that remembers Roth called the Dieter Roth Academy. It has been done in Iceland, China, Germany (twice) and the Netherlands. His many friends such as Henriette van Egten, Bjorn Roth, and Andrea Tippel are among the attendees.
Even if Roth isn't with us today, his novelty of an artform still draws crowds to wonder at their ingenious, yet unorthodox existence. It just goes to show you, art is all about expression and creativity, the media is just something that follows.
I'm pretty sure there have been a lot of artists out there with a curiosity for organic pigments and media, but today I chanced upon Han Bing Lin's unique usage of fish-bone in his Asian inspired relief art. Aside from fish bones, the artist also uses related marine organics like gills, scales and even the antenae of shrimps and crustaceans. Lin's inspiration came from an old story he tells from 1998. He was inspired by the sight of a young girl in a white dress playing the violin. Where did he see her? After his meal while staring at the unique arrangement of fishbones!
Based in Xiamen, China, Lin spent over three years collecting fishbones and materials he would be able to incorporate into his artworks. His uniqueness cost him over thirty thousand yuan before any outside help managed to discover the beauty of his creative mind. Among his subjects are bold and fascinating landscapes, many of which drawn from his hometown's natural surroundings.
It's something you don't see every day; a form of art that makes use of what was previously conceived as unusable. This movement of art carries on from before the twentieth century into new exciting techniques that slowly make their way into Asian museums and galleries.
Matchstick art isn't as uncommon these days as you might think. Gladbrook, Iowa actually has a Matchstick Marvel Center that displays many interesting and award-winning contemporary pieces, including the picture in this post- a scaled model of the city of Minas Tirith from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. There are quite a few famous sculptors out there who create using this unorthodox media, such as David Mach, Jack Hall and Phil Hanson. From sculpted guitars to life-size automobiles, the subjects have no limit.
Basically many of those practicing the craft have mentioned the relation of matches to "building blocks" much as how you would view toys such as Lego or Megablocks, but on a higher difficulty. The ability for matches to function as compatible units in an overall composition is astounding, as you can see by the end product. With the development of new and unique forms of art, I'm happy right here to be able to see the design wonders that can be produced by creative minds all around the globe.
A few days ago, I found myself lingering along Padre Burgos drive, marveling at the grand structure of the Philippines' hub for the historical arts. It hasn't been long since my last visit, so before that day I wondered to myself how much the actual building has changed.
It was good to see many of the familiar paintings, like the puzzle-like abstract work of H.R. Ocampo, as well as the obviously famous Spolarium (that I couldn't take my eyes off even for most of the trip). the huge rooms held numerous exhibits, some new and others old, however the newer installations weren't as innovative and inspiring as I had hoped they'd be...
I stayed for a while, exploring the museum's older historical collections. Despite being a fan of more modern types of art, the best thing for me about these kinds of heritage works is the powerful link to the country's past. I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one who finds the story-side of art bewildering and notable, but these days the younger crowds don't seem to appreciate it as much as my generation batch did.
During the afternoon I headed back over to Mandaluyong and had lunch with some friends at the Shangri-La mall. I must say their art galleries need a little bit more exposure in that secluded section of theirs... The owners should have oriented the layout distribution better if you ask me, but somehow I doubt that business tycoons think much about art galleries other than the fact that they supply them with insanely expensive paintings and sculptures for their homes.
Ahh 2011.. what a year you are for technology. I wish I could say you paid the same attention to culture, but I'm still waiting for your younger brother 2012 to show you up. Indeed it's been a quieter year for the Philippine art scene. Apart from some national competitions (AAP and Shell's NSAC among others), I haven't seen much activity. Maybe that's why I yearned for some cultural semblance of the past. Philippine art is great at its core, but sometimes I wish people would pay more attention to using it as a means of greater expression in this new strange world filled with wireless doodads and gadgets.
Lawrence Beck; a.k.a "Larry" Beck was a Seattle born sculptor who pursued a style of assemblage abstract in artistic sculpture. Beck was one fourth Native Alaskan, and he was able to draw both inspiration and conflict from his mixed lineage. Throughout his life, Beck was able to create fine masterpieces out of assembled objects, forming public structures, industrial artworks and Inuit inspired masks. Beck started out with painting at the University of Washington, under the tutelage of artists Everett Du Pen and George Tsutakawa. He was also able to teach at the University of Oregon later on.
As a sculptor, Beck began creating works on a large scale. He patronized abstract expressionism and slowly built a reputation for himself as a sculptor, accumulating several art awards and recognitions. He was very fond of using found objects to manipulate into his composition. His 1986 artwork; Punk Walrus Inua was made with whitewall tire, baby moon hubcaps, safety pins, dental mirrors and many other unrelated things. He found his parts from junkshops and old yards, accumulating them in number, till they were enough for him to make use of. Today, Beck's sculptures can be found at the Golden Gate Park in Seattle, the Bellevue Art Museum, the University of Alaska in fairbanks, and many other places around the United States.
Have any of you ever visited the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum in Ludwigshafen an Rhein? The museum is a cornerstone in German art history and houses many of the great masters of the country's various art movements. Near to this esteemed institution, there is a sculpture called the Endlose Treppe. The English translation of the title is the Endless Steps. It's a tall solid structure made of North American Granite and was created by the popular sculptor; Max Bill, for the philosopher Ernst Bloch in 1991. The sculpture's cubist orientation is actually a deep representation of Bloch's ideals called the "Principles of Hope". The vertically endowed sculpture is composed of 19 steps, which stand nearly 10 meters high.
A prime subject for German-inspired philosophical art; Endlose Treppe, is a modern emblem of visual and metaphysical ideals. Its rigid and robust form was done in coherence with its ascending nature, so as not to disturb the natural pattern. Max Bill is a fascinating creator of strong symbolism and aesthetic thought. His wonderful creation stands as an enduring mark in German history.
His work in the Netherlands, the "D-tower" is a bright red interactive structure symbolizing the dominant placement of love in our psychological set of emotions. Despite many of his out-of-this-world designs, Spuybroek consistently rejects a connection to futurism. He prides himself on the delicate bodily forms of every creation in their own unique style, and also hopes that the ability of mass customization will be available to many societies. This concept entails the majority-spreading of unique designs into our population instead of the current mass-produced routine designs that come from standard factories.
Spuybroek was a recipient of the Archiprix award and the Iakov Chernikov Award for his outstanding understanding of both art and architecture. He was also a well-known teacher at established institutions like the University of Kassel in Germany and the Columbia University in New York City.
Have you ever wanted to walk across the solar system and still have both feet flat on the ground? The Somerset Space Walk allows visitors to do something kind of like that. This large sculpture trail is a proportionate model of our entire solar system from the planet sizes to the distances in between them. It makes use of a 22kilometer Bridgwater and Taunton Canal to fully showcase its purpose. The Spacewalk was designed by Philip Robert Vassar Youngman for people to experience how truly large and extraordinary our solar system is. He challenges the flat perceptions of pictures and charts often seen today, because they do now show the full impact of the space we live in.
This bold model is built on a small scale of 1 is to 530,000,000. Such a scale is needed because of it optimal comparison to the actual solar system and heavenly bodies. one milimeter on the scaled replica is equal to the measurement of 530 kilometers. The project itself was a joint venture by Taunton Solar Model Group and British Waterways. The planets each have a description under them and are held up by stone blocks for a strong durability. It was very difficult to consider adding anything aside from the sun and planets because of the distance factor. Including the nearest star for example would entail placing it over 70,000 kilometers away. The entire trail can be walked from the Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton or from theBridgwaters Morrison's Supermarket. Such a powerful display of the space outside of what we know, can be our own link into experiencing the feeling of a larger-than-life ambiance.
In 1987, Stanley Bleifeld was commissioned to create a suitable sculpture for the United State Navy Memorial. Modeled after Dan Maloney; a petty officer, The Lone Sailor is a commemorative sculpture to celebrate the hard work and effort of all sea service personnel. Blefield specifically wanted a model similar to Maloney's because he did not jive well with the more traditional honor guard models of the Navy heritage. One interesting fact was that the bronze material melted for The Lone Sailor came from things gathered from eight different Navy ships. These were provided by the Naval Historical Center.
While there are other copies of The Lone Sailor all around America, the original still embodies the true commemorative purpose of the Navy Memorial. Standing tall and proud, the sculpture gives viewers a captured look into the eyes of a man on a journey. The gestured pose of the sailor is certainly a memorable one, showcasing a traditional seaman's gaze off into the sea.
If you come from a Chinese family or ancestry, you may have heard about these small interesting curiosities known as seal sculptures. These days they are often seen in Chinese traditional households or on display at tourist shops, but the history behind the seal sculpture is one that links to the very essence of Chinese culture.
A basic seal sculpture consists of a minimalist carving or decorative adornment on the top of the seal. Traditionally vertical in orientation, these small scaled sculptures are most common in East Asian regions. Also known as Niu Ke or Tou Ke, seal sculptures have been around since the time of the ancient Chinese dynasties. The Zhou Dynasty made use of bronze seal sculptures as tools for government officials to convey their approval for legal issues. They used heavy metal materials like bronze because of the long lasting durability involved. The Chinese believed that this symbolized a type of permanent power or endlessness, and was a good material to make use of. Later on during the Ming and Yuan dynasties, the seal sculpture made its way into public culture, being used by scholars and other professionals.
One of the more common Chinese designs for a seal sculpture is the form of a dragon. A carving etched into marble, jade or natural stone is usually the most frequent type nowadays. Despite its minimalistic simplicity, seal sculptures require a great deal of skill to create. Carving a miniscule block of thin stone requires dexterity and the ability to work with small crevices. Attention to detail has always been one of the major characteristics of any seal artist. Some seals are also engraved on their sides with Chinese characters. The bottom of the seal sculpture always holds a character referring to its patron or owner. Family or full names are the most common type of wordings seen under the bases of seal sculptures today.
The term Chryselephantine actually refers to something that is created using the two precious materials; gold and ivory. Sculptures with this trait were traditionally used during ancient times as culturally significant emblems or tribute works. Chryselephantine sculptures were also highly popularized as cult sculptures in Greece's long history of art and nobility. Now, just because gold and ivory are highlighted as the primary artistic materials does not mean that each Chryselephantine sculpture consists of only those types of media. Many sculptures that were uncovered by historians also contain wooden elements and semi-precious stones. The usage of many types of material made it possible for artists to portray the various parts of the human patron they were sculpting. Ivory was used to symbolize the skin, while gold was used to form the hair, armor and weaponry. Gold was often combined with the other valuable media like gemstones and glass.
Two of the most known samples of Chryselephantine sculpture worldwide are sculptures from the Classical age by the artist Phidias. He created a sculpture of Athena at the Parthenon and Zeus at Olympia's main temple. Because these sculptures have a high value composition, many of them were taken apart, destroyed or stolen during different periods in history, but some were recovered by historians and are now in select museums across the globe, primed for public viewing.
On a side note, Chryselephantine sculpture was also used during the nineteenth century Art Nouveau movement in Europe. Similar symbols were observable, such as the ivory usage in skin and the gold usage for clothing and fashionables. Some sculptors who took these types of sculpture to their studios were Pierre Charles Simart and Alan LeQuire.
A man that holds a great passion for technology and art can be expected to end up as a graphic designer, webmaster or user interface designer, but this man took it to the next level. Meet Petrus Wandrey, techno-sculptor and designer. His proclamation of the Digitalist movement with his panel Science and Beyond at Fordham University in the late 1970's. Wandrey's style is deeply linked with the concept elements of computers and modern sciences. His usage of pixel-inspired traits in his artworks is a common part of his creative process.
Wandrey explored many field like furniture design, graphic design, textile design and the traditional media of painting and sculpture. He did a lot of computer-based designing in his early years, helping several clients like TransAtlantik Magazine make there way into the market. As an artist, he now integrates the various components into his style, but does this not only in the literal sense, but also in the sense of aesthetic inspiration. He studied diodes, microchips and circuit boards to visually create his digitally-inspired sculptures and paintings. Some of his group exhibitions include famous art shows at Bodenburg, Hamburg, Leverkusen and Berlin. Today, Wandrey's melding of digital and tradional art inspires the high-tech community to bridge borders and try creating new novelties for the world of art, science and lifestyle.
At the young age of fifteen, Jeremy Langford began his artistic experimentations with the medium of glass. Using an old ceramic kiln that he found, he began melting old and recycled bottles to create his very first works of stained glass.
Later on, he went to the London Film School where he met a good mentor that eventually gave him his educational foundation and practical knowledge on working with glass. This gave Langford exactly what he needed to pursue his real passion of creating marvelous glass art. During the 1970's Langford travelled back and forth from U.K. to Israel and continued honing his skills in fabricating glass creations. He conceptualized several pieces which he later created on a monumental scale and displayed in several of the areas that he visited. His wife, the late Yael Langford, was a quantum chemist who together with him, studied the various effect of art on the human brain and consciousness.
Langford's contribution to the world of glass is vast, mostly comprised of great works set across municipal halls, museums and public or government locations. Recently, his studio has also been working on three giant sculpture pieces for the Trump International Towers, as well as another huge artwork for the Miami Four Seasons Hotel. His creations have spread across New York, Los Angeles and Beverly Hills as well. Langford's creative genius for glass sculpture has its foundation in his personal connection between art and spirituality. He often compares the tangible traits of glass to the human state of searching for a spiritual dimension. Today, many international halls including the Supreme Court Building in Jerusalem and the Brtish Museum in London take pride in housing the work made by Langford, because of their exquisite beauty and wonderful depth.
Every sculptor and collector already knows who Dale Chihully is. The master of glass himself made an appearance at the famous TED Talks last 2010. His works are indeed an inspiration to the younger and aspiring generations of glass artists. Most of the big countries around the globe carry monumental floating or free standing glass pieces by Chihully, but even the smaller nations already have a following of the artist's strong stylistic designs in glass. Despite this, I do believe that he intends to do more. Aside from establishing the Pilchuck Glass School near Stanwood, Wahington, Chihully also set up his largest permanent exhibition at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.
Photography by Andrew Dunn (2004) from Andrew Dunn Photos
His story is one of triumph, because although not many know this, Chihully had a lot against him in his life as an artist. Did you know for example, that the trademark eyepatch he wears was due to a car accident? His face was severely cut by glass and he was blinded in that one eye. Despite this, he continued his glassblowing work and amazingly still grew as an artist and a designer. Later on he dislocated his shoulder and wasn't able to hold the glass-blowing pipe any longer, but after that he still desired to continue the craft. With the help of his own studio people, he continues to design and create supreme masterpieces of highly visual creative works. Chihully's accidents did not change his mind at all in its intention to become number one in the glass industry. After all that, he still made it.
As far as modern sculpture goes, many people often say that the visual impact goes as far as the eye can see. For Len Lye, "as far as the eye can see" was literal. In 1999, he created an astounding 45 meter fibreglass sculpture called The Wind Wand. This elongated contemporary public sculpture holds a globe at the end of its long tube. This sphere glows red at night time because it contains over a thousand light-emitting diodes inside it. As a whole sculpture, The Wind Wand can bend its vertical orientation to sway with the natural air currents. Its maximum bend can go to over 20 meters even if it weights around 900kg. This is because aside from fibreglass, its structure is also entwined with carbon fiber, a very durable, yet flexible modern material used in things like helicopter blades and automotive elements.
This sculpture is an unusual beacon both in the daylight and in the evening. Contemporary sculptures don't always need to maintain an out-of-this-world level of complexity, just a sense of original idea that affects how people experience it. This simple vertical installation isn't the most groundbreaking idea in the history of art, nor is it comparable to the aesthetic structure of the bird's nest stadium at the Beijing olympics, but it makes us stop and take a look. It makes people wonder why someone would install such a sculpture and how he came about doing so. Contemporary art means art that inspires a certain kind of human curiosity that we all smile at in one way or another. It is the art of making things different from the ordinary.
With computer-aided design and actual prototyping printers already available to the public, sculptors often wonder if the trend of technological manufacturing will catch up to them. Machines and programs are getting more and more accurate, reaching well over 480 dpi on three dimensional printing. Leading companies like Diamond and Zcorp are finding more and more ways to create better 3D printers to sculpt for people.
Aside from this bit, we believe that just like the Jewelry industry, the sculpture world will still have a direct need for hand-made artwork. Why? Mainly because it appeals to people. Hand-made sculptures are different from 3D modeled print-outs, just like hand-cast jewelry is a novelty that hasn't been replaced even after the invention of the wax printer (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) and the Rhino Program (Computer Aided Design for Jewelry.) Technology may be getting more accurate, but who ever said that beauty was all bout accuracy? For the most part, sculptural trends are actually deviating away from accuracy. With the emergence of modern and contemporary sculptures, as well as the diversity in sculpting media today, I seriously doubt that there will be printers that can catch up to these movements any time soon.
The Merlion or Singa-Laut in Malay, is the national mascot of Singapore's proud city. Designed by Fraser Brunner in 1964, the Merlion is an emblem of the city's progression into a modern age. Its composition seems to be like mythical combination of lion and fish. Now, there are 5 prime statues of the Merlion observable in Singapore: the original 8.6 meter Merlion at Merlion Park, The cub sculpture that stands two meters tall behind the main sculpture, the 37 meter tall replica with a viewing deck on the 9th story (located on Sentosa Island), the three meter tall polymarble statue at the Tourism Court, and lastly the same sized statue placed at Faber's Point.
The original Merlion sculpture/statue was standing at the mouth of the Singapore river, but it was moved after the Esplanade Bridge was finished in 1997. The Merlion also underwent maintenance from June to July during the year 2006, this was due to the forces of natural weathering as well as the water pressure from the river. One curious fact you may also find intriguing is the time that the Merlion sculpture got damaged by lightning in 2009. It was a late February afternoon when lightning stuck at the statue's head, breaking off some pieces. Despite this, they were able to repair the mascot and set it back to its proper place in no time.
An evolving movement of abstract sculpture has hit the Philippines since 2007 and the population of its art followers in the community continues to grow. The country has always been known for its history of painters and sculptors that played a crucial role in the development of a society. Juan Luna for example, was a Filipino painter that aided in the struggle for independence along with Jose Rizal, the country's national hero.
Recently, the biggest art hub in the Philippines; the Artwalk at the SM Megamall (Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila) has been a prime hot-spot for local and international collectors to view and experience a taste of true Philippine and Asian art. Sculpture is a novelty that has emerged from the recent modernist trends that encircle the local art scene. Many of the emerging talent has been drawn from the new generations that have been exposed to the path left by the historical 13 moderns (referring to 13 artists that have paved the way for modernism after the period of realism brought about by the influence of Fernando Amorsolo).
Galleries like the Artasia Gallery, Gallery Nine and Gallery Anna situated at the Artwalk are currently exhibiting several of these artistic modernist sculptors that are also beginning to catch the attention of the international art community through their successive exhibitions in foreign cities. Even online galleries from the Philippines are starting to revolutionize the sculpture world on the internet. "Sculptor.Asia" by local young artist Kylo Chua has gotten the community to appreciate sculpture in a whole new light by using 360 degree viewing technology.
Many people gravitate towards art because it tells a story of how things came about. This is most definitely true for the newer generations of Filipinos that have started to come out of their imperialist shell, and begin to create an identity for a deeply creative nation rooted in the foundations of visual symbolism.
A popular public sculptor is Singapore, Chong fah Cheong was a master of abstract and figurative sculpture, He often preferred to create semi-realistic subjects of people living their lives by the local riverside.
Chong was drawn to art since the age of 4, and was very fond of drawing sketches as an output away from school. His talent continued to grow during his academic occupation at St. Joseph's Institution, however he decided to drop out of school after finishing year 10. He did this to pursue a teaching career with the Lasalle Brothers novitiate in Penang. He spent a total of seven years training as an instructor of education. He became a secular regular again in 1967 and opted to teach at the Teluk Anson school in Malaysia. Later on in his life, Chong continued to pursue art, particularly the artform of sculpture, and was commissioned by Wing Tai Holdings to creatte a jade sculpture over 3000 tonnes in weight. The sculpture was set to be placed at the residence of Tan Yeok Nee. The work was one of Chong's biggest and most notable projects. It was revealed finish during the year 2001
Chong's sculptures display a degree of still-life art that captures and holds a sense of emotion in every figure. Each of his artworks that were set-up in a communal place reflects upon the simplistic lifestyle of cultural Singapore. He loved to create art using inspirations that came from day to day life. Chong was even inspired to create sculptures merely by seeing people eating together or children playing with each other.
In Makati City, the M.West Rotary Club has been doing this annual project of hosting an art exhibition to help raise funds for different charities. Entitled the "Alay Sining" (Filipino), the exhibit brings together many of the country's nationally and internationally acclaimed artists. Pieces by Renowned sculptors Imao and Pilapil are among the works that belonged to the Alay Sining 4 exhibition that was held a few months ago at the Mandarin Oriental. Being the fourth exhibition in a row, art patrons and enthusiasts alike attended this ground-breaking event which featured sculpture as the main artistic media, as well as some pieces of art-based jewelry done by the sculptors. Life-size pieces were also on display. Mixed media pieces made creative use of bullets, copper wire, cast marble and bronze. Father and Son pairings Fred and William Baldemor and Seb and Kylo Chua were among the 20+ attending sculptors that were invited to the notable art endeavor. Other personalities included ceramic sculptor Maria Magdamit, who also took the time to create tiara-like sculptures for the jewelry part of the exhibition.
The one-day exhibit was curated in a way that allowed guests and patrons to move around with ease and view each of the artworks to their heart's content. The ground layout for the show was done in a circular spiral fashion that gave each artist a display table to showcase at least 3 of his fine sculptures. The life-size sculptures were placed in the middle of the showroom to add aesthetic ambiance to the entire exhibition. I hope that next year, Alay Sining will continue, as the Philippines is currently a great spot to find groundbreaking contemporary art and sculpture.
The Umlauf Sculpture garden is a spectacular site recognized by both travelers and artists alike for its natural ambiance and aesthetic medley of sculptures. It is located at Located at 605 Robert E. Lee Road beside Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. Charles Umlauf was an American Sculptor who studied with the Art Institute of Chicago. Umlauf eventually came to teach at the University of Texas' School of Art in Austin for 49 years.
Umlauf's donation to the world of art was his home studio, which later on became the Umlauf Sculpture Garden. He donated everything in 1985 and the total lot comprised of more than 160 Umlauf sculptures. Among the pieces Umlauf gave to the city were his bronze sculptures; Icarus (1965) and The Kiss (1970). In 1991, the city of Austin built a museum to display Umlauf's artworks on city property connected to the area as well. The garden is maintained by Austin's Parks and Recreation Department, while staff is comprised of volunteers and citizens. The museum park also features artworks and showcases by outside sculptors on a temporary basis.
The park's impressive display of lifesize artworks would be a great addition to any art lover's travel log. Sculptures like The Diver (1956) interact in still life with the natural surroundings by using permanent, yet natural postures created by Umlauf's eye for beauty.
An art museum in Saginaw Valley University's Arbury FA Center (Michigan) is home to the wide collection of sculptures done by Marshall M. Fredericks. This historically acclaimed museum is also in affiliation with its housing university. I believe that its purpose is to inspire and share artistic knowledge with the generations that follow in pursuit of sculptural endeavors. The project was the product of a combined effort between Honey Arbury, her husband Ned, and Mr. & Mrs. Fredericks. Their original aim was just to house a permanent collection of Frederick's works at the university, though in 1999, the gallery exhibit was renamed the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum.
200 artworks made in plaster and other materials are featured in the museum's main gallery. Most of the exhibition is a culmination of Fredericks' 70 year career as a sculptor. Aside from the main gallery, some periodical exhibitions are also held at the museum. Tenant artists of each of these exhibits are invited from both local and foreign art communities. Media for the shows often include painting, ceramics, prints and photography aside from the usual sculpture pieces. Admission to the museum is free and people are encouraged to drop by and have a look at the collections.
The Sculptor's studio area is a location where guests can view Fredericks' sculpting process through the tools and memorabilia that are arranged to explain the methodology behind his great masterpieces. Outside the museum, a sculpture garden of more than 20 bronze sculptures is available for public viewing. Each of those pieces were cast by Fredericks as well.
Every Artist or Art Collector who has visited Japan most surely knows about the Asahikawa Sculpture Museum. First used in 1902 as a social gathering spot for army officers of the 7th division (Japanese Imperial Army), the building is now a proud heritage site dedicated to in the honor of Teijiro Nakahara. The structure was designed in a western style, meant to serve soldiers in various ways as a hotel, social clubhouse and assembly area. It also served as the assemble hall for the American army after Japan lost World War II. In 1968, the restoration of the building was finally done to use it as a museum. The Asahikawa Museum of Local History was established that year. Among the various collections of art, antiques and artifacts, one of the earliest possessions dated back to the Ainu tribe in Japanese cultural history. The museum was eventually moved to the Asahikawa Taisetsu Crystal Hall in the early 1990's.
It was the only building in Asahikawa city to be designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan on May 19, 1989. Renovations again took place in 1994 to be used as the Asahikawa Museum of Sculpture in Honor of Teijiro Nakahara. For those of you who are not familiar with Teijiro Nakahara, he was an important modernist sculptor who spent his childhood in the city of Asahikawa.
The renovated museum is now the permanent home of twelve works of Teijiro Nakahara, as well as sculptures by other individuals who have won the Teijiro Nakahara award. External artists also hold periodical exhibitions at the venue as well, such was the case of Bikky Sunazawa, a sculptor who specializes in carving designs out of natural wood. The museum also holds talks and seminars for children, as well as an annual announcement for the reception of the Teijiro Nakahara award for sculpture.
Many of you do not know of the curious Bambara tribe located deep in Mali. They consist of an ancient society that uses symbolical sculptures as part of their daily ritualism. A Chi Wara, Chiwara or Tyi Wara is a figurine-like object that was carved by their tribe to represent their themes and stories. Mainly used either as masks or small sculptures, the Chiwara are a type of visual communication that tribesmen use to relate others with their agricultural and social activities. In Bambara, the word means "laboring wild animal, and represents the story of how the creation of farming arose in Bambara culture. Traditional Chiwara sculptures were hand-carved out of wood, however stylistic variations have been seen depending on the time and location that the artifact was uncovered or found from. Some styles that researchers have been able to categorize are the Bougouni or South region style which combines several animal subjects into the same composition, the Bamako or North region style where orientation is usually horizontal, and the Segu or Mainland region style where male sculptures are created with a vertical orientation and a triangular body. Aside from these, there is also one last style; the Sikasso region style where sculptures are made with a thin vertical orientation that resembles human anatomical design, but done in a delicate feel.
The Bambara story of agriculture revolves around the folklore of the hero Chi Wara, a half human and half antelope born from a union of the sky goddess Mousso Koroni and an earth spirit with the form of a cobra snake. The Chi Wara came to the earth to teach humans how to sow and harvest vegetation.
The figure of the Chi Wara is traditionally a recreation of the character from the myth; a half human and half antelope creature adorned with emblems of farming. Its body is often depicted through long, slender orientations, symbolizing its descent into the earth (like the tools of a farmer plow into the fertile soil). Other elements of the sculpture may represent the plant to be harvested, plentiful water, and a bountiful harvest. Patterns sometimes imitate the direction of the sun's position in the horizon. Sculptures can also come in male and female pairs, denoting a sense of fertility both in human society and in agricultural activity. The Chi ware is indeed a treasure of the Bambara tribe that shows how artistic sculpture and visual symbolisms hold up a culture of human beings and their community.