The curious artwork of Grzegorz Gwiazda breaks down form and structure, yet often builds up color and shape. His sculptures range from a wide variety of style, whether it is representational, surreal, or incredibly abstract. Reminiscent of 19th century European sculptures, his work has a timeless quality that demands respect and appreciation. However, there is always an unmistakable contemporary element present in each piece. For example, one of Gwiazda’s sculptures appears to be a classic, male nude made out of bronze. However, this man is also riding a unicycle, and even has one red foot. Another striking piece holds his arms out in a traditional stance, also nude. This sculpture contains a brilliant blue stripe dissecting the man in half, while several shades of vibrant colors fanning across the background in which he stands. The artist beautifully takes 19th century motifs and style and majestically brings them into contemporary times; into the avant garde.
Not all of Gwiazda’s sculptures display realistically sculpted, male nudes. Many of them break down the figure, melting their details and characteristics until, sometimes; they are nothing but a skeleton of a man. His multiplicity in styles is as impressive as his eclectic us of media. He uses more common materials like bronze and ceramic, but also uses more obscure ones like resin and paper. The artist is able to create such magnificent form and detail, with just enough abstraction to push male nude sculpture to the next level.
Athens, Greece-based artist HOPE is well-known for his use of large-format collaged pieces, both in the streets and in the gallery. Taking the ruins of the classical sculptures of his homeland, HOPE returns these images to decaying buildings, using large stickers applied outdoors. Though he found his fame in the streets of Athens, the mixed-media artist has been transitioning towards exhibiting his works more indoors, both in decrepit public spaces and in white-walled galleries. Describing his style of using and remixing classical and recognizable sculpture, HOPE says, “My works are marked by mythology. They are sculptural images inspired from the past with a new aesthetic rule.”
HOPE continues, “What interests me about street art and public art, in general, is that it can exist as a forum/platform for dialogue. We live and think within the public space. When you place an artwork in the public domain, you’re interacting with the public. This makes you think about the public order. You’re given the opportunity to express your opinion politically and sociologically through a work, the longevity of which is determined according to the public opinion… But the main reason I got involved in street art was the feeling that I was creating an anti-monument, a new kind of creative model which escapes private places. Sometimes, when public art is effective, it can even change the world.” (via artnau and yatzer)
Dylan Shields, an artist based in London, creates sculptures that investigate the relationship between classical sculpture and contemporary materials.
The sculptures further explore and build upon the existent relationship between canonical works of art (in this case and its contexts within modern society by creating them out of cardboard, a relatively new (ish) material in the realm of art-making. He uses re-cycled cardboard and parcel tape to produce work that is at both familiar yet fresh by its original use of form and perspective.
“It has been a process of trial and error to perfect my style. One of the challenges of working with cardboard is the limitation of its flexibility. Also, sourcing the right colors has been difficult as I don’t paint the sculptures, so the colors have to come from the cardboard.”
The series Hipster in Stone was captured by photographer Léo Caillard and retouched by Alexis Persani. The series’ premise is simple: classical statues don a hipster wardrobe. The effect, though, is amusing. A simple change or addition of clothing seems to transform each figure’s timeless grace to a modern boredom. Subtle expression becomes cool aloofness. However, the photographs do draw a strange similarity between ancient figures and modern models. A preoccupation with appearance and appreciation for (or obsession with) physical beauty seems to never have left us entirely.