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2003 | 4 | 77-114

Article title

'Human Architectures'. Studies of the Relations between Sculpture and Architecture in 20th Century Art



Title variants

"Ludzkie architektury": ze studiów nad relacjami pomiędzy rzeźbą a architekturą w sztuce XX wieku

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The relations between sculpture and architecture are usually seen as a form of symbiosis. However, the first avant-garde Modernist architects (first quarter of 20th c.) introduced essential changes into the traditional relations between architecture and sculpture. The total abandonment of sculptural decoration in architectural works deprived sculpture of its traditional position and importance. Nevertheless, complete separation of architecture from sculpture in the 1920s and 1930s seems apparent. In 20th century art the relationship between the two genres became deeper and more complex as result of the process of interpenetration. Step by step traditional boundaries of a genre were extended. The process culminated in the works in which architecture and sculpture coalesced into a single entity. (e.g., sculptures by Siah Armajani, installations by Mary Miss, Peter Shelton, or Anthony Caro's Tower of Discovery, 1991; Rachel Whitered, House, 1993). In order to establish to what extent modem sculpture becomes 'architectural. and architecture 'sculptural' one must examine the fortunes of 20th century figurative art and Maillol's, Wotruba's and Cubist sculpture are considered here. This kind of architecturalization of sculpture, connected with the abandonment of a traditional mode of shaping, paved the way for industrial materials to be used as artistic media. In some 20th century sculptures whose subject is a human being, the material of the body has been transformed into a specific 'architectoidal corporality'.Sculptures by Eduardo Paolozzi, his 'tower-figures' with column-like legs are already an example of 'machine-like corporality'. It seems that a tendency to render a human being in transformations and architecture-inspired forms was most conspicuous until the end of the 1950s. Iit may be assumed that an interest in a human figure in the first half of the century was more conducive to bringing out and emphasizing the 'architectonic quality' of the human body whereas the second half of the century witnessed the treatment of the body as a source of inspiration which seem to have been a reaction to the earlier extremities described here.






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  • Miedzynarodowe Centrum Kultury
  • M. Rydygier, Miedzynarodowe Centrum Kultury, ul. Rynek Glówny 25, 31-008 Kraków, Poland


Document Type

Publication order reference


CEJSH db identifier

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