Comments on: Thoughts on Abstract Sculpture; A Reply to Alan Gouk’s “Steel Sculpture, Parts 1 & 2” Abstract Critical is a not-for profit company aiming to establish a new critical context for all generations of artists involved with ambitious abstract art. Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:23:33 +0000 hourly 1 By: Robin Greenwood Sun, 29 Jun 2014 10:43:23 +0000 That clinches it.

By: Alan Gouk Sun, 29 Jun 2014 08:42:20 +0000 Disproved my arse!

By: anthony seymour Thu, 12 Jun 2014 14:16:40 +0000 Most intense and thought provoking trying to read these good articles & makes YBA art seem quite funny by comparison!

By: Tim Scott Thu, 05 Jun 2014 08:31:00 +0000 My apologies for claiming that Robin did not mention ‘movement’ in his reply;
He did.

Whilst he is entitled to his opinions as to which sculptures, if any, satisfy his quest for a holy grail of ‘three dimensionality’, and he is modest enough to exclude his own; I do not think, personally, that innovation in abstract sculpture fell, or will fall, from heaven.
In due course it will become apparent that innovation, whatever form it takes, will have precedent, and will be grounded in the successes and failures of what went before.

Whilst I agree. (and hope that), abstract sculpture will take unforeseen and unknown routes into a future; we will only recognise it as sculpture from our experience of its past. It is only this which provides us with eyes to see anything previously unseen.
It will come about through talent, but talent makes the future through knowledge of the past

By: Tim Scott Wed, 04 Jun 2014 16:55:25 +0000 “….sculpture calls the shots, not material. It happens, just happens, that….most of the best and most advanced sculptural work being done at the moment is in steel, and has been for a while. But it could be otherwise, were sculpture to so dictate…..”

This is a timely statement, Robin, with which I totally agree. It is more an accident of history than anything else that steel has become the dominant medium for advanced sculpture. No sculptor would, I hope, seriously argue that sculpture cannot be achieved despite the material it happens to be made in.
‘Real three dimensionality’ is a quality which some of us have been engaged in seeking to achieve for a long time; the emphasis on tensility is one of the paths towards it.
Tensility,(like other physical forces), is a symptom of ‘life’, of ‘liveness’; (we all know the difference between a piece of steel that has ‘tension’, and one that has degenerated into the state of a pudding. Achieving ‘three dimensionality’ will be of no consequence unless it embodies the liveness of parts and parts to whole implying movement, (and by ‘movement I mean ‘change, transformation’ not running around); a word which Robin does not mention. Movement (implied) IS life in sculpture.
Yes, real three dimensionality in abstract sculpture can be achieved in ways which at the moment are unclear or unmade; but will not be if the life giving sense of physical forces is not a basis for the invention of sculptural form, investing it with “…..the capacity to flex, but also to straighten; to push and then to pull, to rotate and to unwind; to resist and to yield’…..”

Tim Scott June 2014

By: Robin Greenwood Wed, 04 Jun 2014 13:57:54 +0000 On re-reading this, it occurs to me that I have not said quite enough about physicality. Alan and I probably agree in large part about its necessity for sculpture, and it was one of the touchstones of “Sculpture from the Body” that we both participated in. But like anything else, there are ways of using it that range from the literal through to the three-dimensionally re-imagined. I suspect that most of the “interpretations” of physicality that have happened to date in any of the work Alan cites, including my own, will in a few short years hence (if not already) look pedestrian (which is not to denigrate their achievements) as we unlock more and more diverse and inventive ways to make abstract sculpture more particular in just how it activates space. One might already see the overt allusions to a “physicality-of-the-body” in some of the work to date beginning to be subsumed into something of far greater subtlety and breadth of imagination. After all, the achievement of physicality, of itself, is surely not the central purpose of abstract sculpture, any more than opticality or weightlessness. Here I agree that ”illumination, lucidity, clarity”, are of higher value – though it must be re-stated that such high-minded ambitions should be grounded in real achievement in three-dimensions, and not get short-circuited by simplistic conceptualisations. Above all, though, abstract sculpture’s aspirations are not to be limited by any particular property, as I argue above.