The sculpture has always been one of the noblest and most valuable artistic channels. Experimenting and creating exceptional results through the transformation of matter is a modus that has led to the creation of timeless works. But what is the path that contemporary sculptors are following today? And, above all, how is the concept of sculpture evolving?
Contemporary sculptors: media explorers
Once upon a time, marble was the ideal material for every sculptor. It’s enough to think about Canova, Michelangelo or Donatello. Today, however, contemporary sculptors do not stop at the use of a single material. Contemporary sculpture is, in fact, multifaceted. It does not follow the only aesthetic or hedonistic ideal, as Greek sculpture did. It often becomes communication and political medium, increasingly attentive to environmental issues.
To all these new stimuli corresponds the experimentation of different media. Not only marble or wood but plastic, fabrics and – more and more often – recycled materials. Just think of one of the most creative minds of the contemporary art scene: the Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos. The artist uses her knowledge of embroidery as a distinctive feature of her production. In particular, some of her most renowned installations are composed purely of fabrics copiously put together and supported by metal structures.
The messages of contemporary sculpture
Ghizlane Sahli, on the other hand, is an artist of Moroccan origin who has made of alveolar structures, her artistic language. The sculptress uses parts of recycled bottles covered with silk threads to create primordial structures that evoke corals and cellular elements. There are many artists today who put their art at the service of environmental awareness. Like Ghizlane Sahli, another great contemporary sculptress also focuses on these issues.
We are talking about Sokari Douglas Camp: award-winning artist protagonist of over 40 exhibitions worldwide. The English naturalized artist is originally Nigerian. In her works, Sokari Douglas Camp depicts the social and environmental effects of the pollution of the Niger River. The artist also responds to another need: she creates a lively and original bridge between Western and African culture. The typical motifs of the traditions in Baguma take on new connotations. Works such as “Primavara” are capable of combining timeless classicism (Botticelli’s Primavera inspires the work) with Kalabari themes, equally dear to the Nigerian artist.
Identity and politics
Like Sokari Douglas Camp, Gonçalo Mabunda also makes his art a means of political denunciation. That of this artist is an extraordinary creative process. Mabunda uses old weapons found in his homeland, Mozambique, to create unique works. These works, aesthetically very appealing and representative of the artist’s cultural identity, are a powerful tool for denouncing the concept of war itself. In fact, Mozambique lived a bloody civil war. Mabunda has worked to transform the horrors of that war into beautiful art.
Contemporary sculptors have a lot to say and share. And they do it not only through particular aesthetic choices, but they do it through the materials, methodologies and ideas at the basis of their artistic concepts. Contemporary sculpture is a fascinating world that stimulates necessary reflections in all those who want to grasp its meaning!
Discover some of the most talented contemporary sculptors in the dedicated area of our site: RDN Arts sculptors