Dusan Dzamonja

Metal Sculpture 14


Not on display

Dusan Dzamonja 1928–2009
Iron and lead on wooden base
Object: 730 × 457 × 356 mm
Purchased 1961

Catalogue entry

Dušan Džamonja born 1928

T00430 Metal Sculpture 14 1960

Not inscribed
Iron and lead, 28 3/4 x 18 x 14 (73 x 45.5 x 35.5) on wooden base; height including base 33 1/2 (85)
Purchased from the artist through the Yugoslav Committee of Cultural Relations (Grant-in-Aid) 1961
Exh: Contemporary Yugoslav Painting and Sculpture, Tate Gallery, April-May 1961 (94); Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry, June-July 1961 (94); Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, July-August 1961 (94); Brighton Art Gallery, August-September 1961 (94); XXXII Biennale, Venice, June-October 1964 (Room XII, 16 repr.)
Lit: Zoran Kržišnik, Dušan Džamonja (Zagreb 1969), No.20, n.p., repr.
Repr: Observer, 7 May 1961, p.27

Džamonja's first sculpture with nails was purchased by James Johnson Sweeney from the 1960 Venice Biennale for the Museum of Modern Art, New York. (His exhibition at the Biennale included the first eight works of this series numbered to 8, made over the period 1959-60).

He said that his sculptures of this type were made with prefabricated 'mono-elements' to create volumes, volume being his primary concern rather than surface. Some of them were made by driving nails into a wooden core. However, for the Tate's sculpture the nails were driven not into wood but into clay; the heads of the nails were then coated and fastened together with lead, and finally the clay was removed.

His early figurative works often comprised two forms symbolising the contrast and rapport of two personalities - one, for instance, was based on the theme of fiancés. In the later sculptures the treatment became more abstract and spiritualised, but the same sort of idea remained. He thinks of 'Metal Sculpture 14', with the two open sides turned towards each other and set close together, as like a symbol of the mutual protection of two personalities. On the other hand, any similarity to fruit forms was quite unintentional and arose because at this period he was becoming more and more interested in simple forms such as spheres.

'Metal Sculpture 16' 1960 also consists of two forms similarly juxtaposed, but they are more different in size and the larger one has an irregular lump of coloured glass half concealed within it.

(This note is based on information from the artist, 19 October 1973).

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.199-200, reproduced p.199


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