Dutch artist Woody van Amen studied at the Rotterdam Academy and taught there from 1970 onwards. He was a pioneer of abstract assemblage sculpture and pop art in its materialized concrete form. In 1961, he spent the entire year and the following year residing in America. Van Amen was able to draw inspiration from the legendary pop artist Andy Warhol during his stay in the United States. This gave him the thrust he needed to manifest his pursuit for pop art in sculpture. He came to the Netherlands after this trip and began working on his own style of assemblage sculpture. Despite his current popularity, he started out as humble as artists go by. One of his first works; Electric Chair (1964) wasn’t considered as art by the public and instead was seen as a medium whose intention was merely to mock.
In the 1970’s he traveled to both Southeast Asia and Switzerland to gain an oriental pull of influence for his sculptures. In 1993, he received the Chabot Prize from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds or Prince Bernhard Culture Fund). In 2003, he also visited Singapore after recovering from a grave illness. It was there where he came across some Chinese flashcards signifying specific characters like Shuangxi or “doube happiness”. This observance directly influenced his style as well and played an important role in his development as an abstract artist.
Many people say that the art of each person is completely unique, this is because what defines an individual person’s art is also what defines that individual. Upbringing, history, locations and surroundings all affect the artist in a manner that shapes his art as well as his ability to conceive ideas.
Today let’s take a look at Brazilian sculpture and where the modern era of art is taking them. Sculptors in Brazil have currently evolved beyond the Neogothic, Deco and Art Nouveau movements already and are in fine tuning with contemporary themes such as minimalism and surrealism. In 1951, the São Paulo Art Biennial was one of the ground breaking events that gave abstract sculpture the push it needed in the Brazilian community. Max Bill, a Swiss sculptor was the gold winner for the competition during that year.
Sculptures by Franz Krajcberg – Photography by Sam Emerick
Since then, abstract sculpture has grown into more modern themes in Brazil, however the people’s preference fro figurative resemblances did not vanish along with the trends of the past. They incorporated this into many of their contemporary works, even with subtle hints or meaningful symbolism plays. Pop art and Neoexpressionism were among some of the artistic movements that gave abstract sculpture its diversity in the country in 1960. These days, several Brazilian sculptors have made their way into the international art scene. Some of the popular artists include Francisco Brennarnd, Sergio de Camargo and Willys de Castro. Brazilian sculpture continues its journey to transform the local art community into an assemblage of noteworthy personalities that can teach younger generations their wide appreciation of art and design.
Used as another word for public art or community art, Plop art usually refers to art that has been made for outdoor viewing. These types include the large emblematic structures outside government offices or NGO buildings. The term actually refers to art that does not match its surroundings well enough. Plop art is usually seen as a work that stands out of place when compared to the rest of the surrounding environment. In 1969, the term was coined by James Wines and was a play on the term “pop art”. Since then, people have began using it in everyday conversation to refer to these gigantic structural objects they see all around them.
Many conservative people actually liked the term because it suggested a negative meaning. They made it look as if plop art had something to do with ugliness or strangeness, because of the word “plop” which sounds like a random dropping of an object without any care or particular attention to where it would fall. Others who enjoy plop art, have been trying to reclaim the term for a positive meaning, suggesting that “plop art” refers to public, contemporary, environental sculptures that are on display for the whole community to experience. Plop art is a type of sculpture that usually entwines itself with architecture. Some public artists now try to blend their art with existing structures like buildings and houses to make the scenery seem like part of the artwork.
Abstract is a word means something that exists only in thought or idea but does not maintain a physical, concrete existence. As a verb, it means to withdraw or take outside of something given.
It’s a common word in art, but whether it be sculpture, painting, mixed media or photography- abstraction is a beauty to the sense. Why? Because we seldom understand it.
The human being yearns to learn and discover new things. It is our unquenchable thirst to know more about the world- so what happens when we present ourselves with something that cannot be governed by fact or formula? We find it absurd! We find it mind-boggling! and after all of that, we seek to understand it beyond anything else!
What caused the human being to create abstract art was indeed an abstract idea in itself. It was the idea that not everything had to be set in stone with regards to the art world. Not every little bit of detail and proportion had to match reality to be perfect. Abstract art is a rebellion of the mind. It was created by a stroke of wonder at what could be beyond human intellect.
Today, abstract artists all over the world converge to marvel at each others works, and more importantly at each other’s stories. We derive our art from our memory and experience, not necessarily from tangible surroundings.