Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Three-dimensionality – part three of five

Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.

Teilhard de Chardin

The first home that Shelley and I moved into was a ramshackle cottage that we rented in the canyons above Beverly Hills. We found it in the two weeks in the year when the place was livable. After that it was either freezing cold—Shelley sitting in front of her computer with several layers of clothes on top of which she wrapped herself in a blanket under which was a radiator. Or too hot—Shelley could only work in the evenings. Nevertheless, we thought it was heaven and the best place we had ever lived (which amazingly we have said with each subsequent place).

During that time of our life Shelley and I would go on what we called “life-enriching adventures” which we would surprise each other with. Having lived in either London or Los Angeles, in equal measure my whole life, these were not exotic treks into the wilderness, these were urban adventures. One such adventure was a visit to a Museum of Miniatures. (The museum has since closed, but I can assure you that Hila’s work would be a star exhibit if it was still open).

Halfway through the museum, I stopped in front of an exhibit and could not believe what I was seeing. The dolls I was viewing, behind glass, looked like real children. I waited, expecting them to move. I was looking at the work of Anne Mitrani. I was now hooked on puppetry. From pop-ups, to automata, and now to this. Awareness of three-dimensionality was born inside of me and has continued to fascinate me with its seemingly mystical dimension--further awakening me to my own dimensionality.

Later that year Shelley introduced me to the soft sculpture of Lisa Lichtenfels. Yes, these "alive" humans are just fabric and stitching. Again, I was awed.

Well as you can see this has now expanded to a five-part post. More to come.


Hila said...

Lisa Lichtenfels work is amazing. I have her book - "Figures in Fabric", unbelievably perfect!
Paul, your posts are wonderful.
Looks like Shelly added the third dimension to your world :)
and thanks for mentioning me < blushing > .

herself said...

Great post, Paul. Can't wait to hear where you're going with this.

By the way peeps, the photos here are snaps from my (vast) inspiration wall(s), some images unfortunately fading from the sunlight. I used to be crazy for soft sculpture and therefore Lichtenfels is practically a God. I bought her first technique books and tried out her incredible method with an (unfinished) self portrait.

Viewing her site last night, it seems she has a 3 year old documentary about her (we'll be looking at Flixing that) and some cool full-body technique 5-1/2 hour dvd's!

Couldn't find any good Anne Mitrani online, except one original (selling for $13,000! Whoosh.) and some lesser reproduction works.

Darkstrider said...

Wow, Lisa Lichtenfels! There was a big stir about her a while back on the message board, when we started learning about soft sculpture and its applicability in stopmotion. I would have loved to get some of those tapes, but the price!!! Whoah!

On a similar note, here's a super-cool video about Ron Mueck, ultra-realist sculptor extraordinnaire:

Large file (121 MB):

Small clip from beginning of doco (I think it's like 9 MB):

His stuff is so real it's scary!

herself said...

My God. That Ron Mueck video was enthralling and mesmerizing. I had seen a lot of stills of his work after you mentioned him on your blog, Mike. But that video showing the process made it all the more remarkable. I saw it. And I still don't believe what I saw. I was certain he must use a CAD computer to enlarge the scale of his already remarkable enough sculpts. But to see that they also are sculpted by hand? It's beyond my ability to accept his ability, even after seeing it here.

Like the narrator said, his work is utterly convincing as real life. I think he is an important artist and the statement of his fine art is profound.

The idea of such hyper-realized works in art vs. the idealized is an interesting 3D topic indeed.

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