Sculpture is the art of the intelligence.
A man watches the sky standing firmly on the ground. What does he search there? What does he expect to come from above? A simple image of this eterenal human quest allows the viewer to extract many different meanings, because there are as many answers as there are people.
Were this sculpture realistic, most people would walk past not paying attention. Or, they would also look up, see nothing up there and then think the man was just being weird. Why stand there staring at nothing?
This grey bloke from the Easter Island is 1000 years old.
Picasso once said, “Bad artists copy, good artists steal”. Which I think what happened with Jacob Epstein, one of the founders of modern sculpture, who might have found inspiration in the British Museum, the equivalent of the internet for artists when computers did not exist. Indeed, they’d go there, “click” on the hall with exhibits from Oceania, and there you are, surfuing other cultures.
Now, why is this sculpture a great piece of Art?
And why is this not a copy? Because it can create more and more powerful meanings, compared to his 1000 year old brother.
Adam is walking ahead. His huge feet do not walk the ground, they push and turn the Earth, against the wind and other elements: look how his manhood has been plastered flat against his thigh. Well, I am sure you’ve looked it up already.
We can feel the strain he feels, but he has not bowed down. His heaving chest shows that he’s giving a fight to everything conspiring against him. He gets his strenght from above, from his God. And an interesting relationship that is…
We don’t see him humbly praying. We can’t see him rejecting celestial help. But we also don’t see him rebelling against his god. And we feel the connection to God, of a man who does not “believe” or “hope” that there is one. This amber man knows.
I don’t remember having seen the concept of the absolute faith helping humanity to move forward to be so succintly and dramatically expressed. Do you?