Whilst watching Youtube videos about Eva Rothschild (check previous post), I noted she mentioned that she referenced Brancusi’s Endless Column in her own works. I had not heard of Brancusi before so in my search, I discovered he was a sculptor and had a listen to a podcast by Antony Gormley which I thought was pretty amazing. I’ve listened to it repeatedly because I think the conceptual elements of Brancusi’s practice was very beautiful and poetic.
Gormley refers to the Endless Column as being an axis mundi, a connection between heaven and earth. It is a simplified form, made in an industrial and reproducible way, even in it’s material (cast iron, very Fordist). It’s made up of rhomboidal units, the last one being left incomplete, to express the concept of the infinite. I have taken a quote I liked from the podcast, Gormley refers to the sculpture as acting as an axis mundi and explains the concept of the infinite; ‘that could be continued, at the point of its touching the earth, the same implication of continuity is there. And I think he’s touching on something really basic, both in terms of sculpture and in terms of a human relationship with it… Standing stones… they are about taking something that is lying on the face of the Earth as a natural product of glaciation, the wearing of stones by the elements, and putting it vertical, standing it up. and at the point it becomes a marker, a marker in space.’
By the end of this quote you can see how Gormley suggests the sculpture has a totemic affinity and has permanently planted itself in this space and heightens an awareness, or feelings of the viewer in relation to the sculpture and the surroundings.
‘… stacked element, one on top of the other of mythical beasts, followed by human creatures, is then connected with an idea of human continuity about time as a sequence of generations.’
‘…leads him to think about how something can be an object in itself, how something can have in a way an authenticity as an independent thing in the world… Brancusi wants to create things that have their own reality, he wants to make a world, not decorate somebody else’s.’
‘Faces brought very close together, giving a sense of both the unity of the original block and the interdependence of the two halves. And in that first kiss you can begin to see the development of that syntax of togetherness and apartness that Brancusi goes onto think about when he thinks about how he wants these independent objects to sit in the world.’
There are evident references in Eva Rothschild’s sculptures adopted from Brancusi regarding the concept of the infinite and how the sculptures exist independently but all relate to one another. In terms of myself, I’m focused on the infinite, the sequential stacking of units, ‘axis mundi’ and creating a world in which these sculptures exist. But an important aspect is also in the idea of togetherness and apartness, the idea of being infinitely bound hence the reason why I use rope and that it looks as though it’s continuously growing from the earth in my drawings. The idea of being bound to the earth, bound to another, or bound to the other.