magyarul in English

Ferenc Varga sculptor

We can go beyond sculpture.
Then we can go beyond what sculpture will become.

On Sculpting Statues In the Age of Technoculture and Mass Media

Anyone who wants to sculpt a statue in this day and age must face up to answering even the most fundamental questions regarding his work.  An image carved of real material cannot hope to compete nowadays with the torrent of images of the virtually real.  A machine technology casts such natural human work into doubt.  In this age of popular subcultures and mass media, we can hardly even speak of such concepts as talent or vocation without irony.  The economic model of consumer society fundamentally delimits our way of thinking, and this perfectly mercantile system the „spiritual person”, the artist, can hardly avoid.

Through my experiments I recognized that even in an age when society will not accommodate the sculptor’s work, people are born who desire to sculpt statues.  There are those who cannot escape their propensity to sculpt.  I showed that there is a sculptural quality that only the work of the human hand and eye can bring into existence, and which no machine technology is capable of producing. 

My works, then, were experiments.  At the same time, while these experiments do conceptualize the notion of sculpture, they are themselves statues in form and substance, more exactly, stone figure statues, in fact, self-portraits. At first hearing the notion of conceptually carving self-portraits may sound self-contradictory, but I would suggest that the simple source of this impression is that the concepts of contemporary art tend in their majority toward the antithesis of sculpture.  What might prevent us, then, from once producing not another antithesis of sculpture, but rather a concept that becomes its thesis? 

During the course of these experiments I developed an explanation of the gaze preserved in material.  My final experiment was the concept of the non-conceptual statue, that is, a statue created with no other concept than that it would be a well-sculpted statue.  And yet this non-conceptual statue encouraged the richest and deepest thinking.

I examined the four layers of quality of a good statue, a well-sculpted statue.  In my account, sculptural value can emerge from the sculptor’s way of seeing, from the joy of work well done, from the gaze of the sculptor preserved in the statue, and from the material that bears that gaze.

I believe deeply in the future of those who sculpt statues.

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