Joel Shapiro Untitled 1984

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Artwork details

Artist
Joel Shapiro born 1941
Title
Untitled
Date 1984
Medium Bronze
Dimensions Object: 1115 x 1125 x 1950 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by Janet Wolfson de Botton 1996
Reference
T07154
Not on display

Display caption

This sculpture moves between abstract form and human representation. As Shapiro says, 'I am interested in those moments when it appears that it is a figure and other moments when it looks like a bunch of wood stuck together.' During the 1980's Shapiro assembled pieces of timber and the whole was cast in bronze. The resulting figures have a building block rigidity, rising from or falling into the floor. They are only semi-human with blunt limbs pointing in unexpected directions. The rough featureless surfaces keep us at arm's length from suggesting the figure's emotional state. In fact, the sculpture is bare enough to reveal that reading them as human representation is a reflex on our part, something we cannot help.

August 2004

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