Phaidon, London, 2008
Contemporary sculpture is a wide-ranging and fascinating subject, surprisingly unrepresented in the current marketplace. This beautifully illustrated book is a comprehensive overview of developments in the world of sculpture during the past fifty years, and follows the successful, highly illustrated formula of Phaidon’s best-selling volumes Art Today and Architecture Today.
In the great sea-change marking the end of Modernism — a general set of views and assumptions about art which reigned during the first half of the twentieth century — critical opinion began to shift from painting to sculpture. Sculpture was felt to be more socially engaging because it occupied actual space rather than creating an illusionistic realm using perspective and other techniques.
In recent years sculpture has become a capacious and enormously inventive category that includes an astonishing range of phenomena. These encompass installations, environments, staged video displays and even choreographed humans. This sheer array of materials, forms and techniques that has been — and continues to be — presented under the term of ‘sculpture’ in the twenty-first century indicates that the discipline is not an immutable art form with fixed boundaries and commandments, but rather that it can expand its terms of reference with unflagging energy, and is apparently inexhaustible.
Judy Collins’s authoritative yet accessible text explores the various subjects, materials, techniques and styles utilized by contemporary sculptors and celebrates both the vitality and sheer diversity of this wide-ranging art form.
Dr Judith Collins is an international authority on sculpture. She studied at Edinburgh University and the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and worked with the Art Council and the Hayward Gallery before becoming Senior Curator at Tate, London. She is the author of a wide range of books, which include The Omega Workshops ( Secker & Warburg, 1983), The Origins of the Romanesque (Lund Humphries, 1983), Eric Gill: The Sculpture (Herbert Press, 1993) and Andy Goldsworthy: Midsummer Snowballs (Thames & Hudson, 2001),and has written exhibition catalogues on numerous artists including Eduardo Paolozzi, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Lynn Chadwick, Elisabeth Frink, Magdalena Abakanowicz, David Nash and Carl Plackman. Collins has also worked extensively in radio and lectures throughout Europe and the US.