Sculptural Boundaries: Essays On Sculpture
Sculpture completes what nature cannot finish and involves the application of laws, both physical and aesthetic. The human figure is the universal model for all proportions and, as everyone subconsciously understands, there is a hidden geometric basis for beauty, an a prior subjective universal. This allows sculpture to be sexual while painting can only be sensual and/or aesthetic. Due to the object-nature of the sculpted form it transforms rather than addresses, its reality is actual, in both the physical and metaphysical, in its three-dimensionality the figurative ideal is concerned with those aspects of mankind that touch the core of humanness, lust being primary. The amount of erotic content a sculpture can hold is high because the aim of sculpture is to perfect, not imitate, empathy notwithstanding. Historically we have discarded the corset and antique armor, have forgotten covered ankles and the full skirt, all that remains of the classic Greek ideal is its nudity, the figure in it's wholeness. In a culture lacking unity, figurative eroticism saves sculpture from both sensuality and aestheticism, if the nude, even abstracted, fails to arouse some vestige of erotic feeling, it is false art and bad morals. Desire is so fundamental to our nature that these instincts cannot remain hidden in a real object, therefore the use of the figure necessitates engaging this capacity.
Today the use of the suggestive re introduces the erotic to the decorative that encompasses the modern technological world. It's this suggestiveness that's embarrassingly fresh, the youthfulness, barely teenagers layed out with legs akimbo, eyes open, directed at the viewer/ mouth parted... hands over breast in that classic pose of the Capitoline Aphrodite, moving past in self-caress with nothing on, Nude. In a world where everything else is explicit and advertised, the implied and hidden affects everyone. It's a time of restricted morals and unrestricted desire, because the morality of desire is unquestionable. Sex is becoming ubiquitous in the sense that it's blurred the porno lines. Flat photographic images are sensual in a way that life isn't, porn isn't sexual at all, it's explicitly graphic but doesn't arouse the same mentalize, the lingering possibility of half-seen desire is much stronger than the open invitation to engage in the act mindlessly. Pornography is the affected while the sexual is ideally graceful; it is the difference between the insipid and the pure.
Without the mental, sex is animal, purely reproductive, short, raw and functional. Of course this is what drives the species but we're more than necessity, especially with social restrictions, then the underlying drive engenders desire for intense contact, --the very thing society wants curbed; we're a culture hungry for contact with desire, we use visuals, --youthful, symmetrical, pliant, to create our version of the ideal. In a world removed from either religion or aesthetics, we move into entertainment and decoration, it's the closest we come to ecstasy, the inverse of technological worldliness. Sculpturerotic is not pornographic but sculpted sex is not sculpture, the erotic nature of mankind is elicited through his ideal conceptions, contra imposed into the material world.
The history of war is the public realm of property and subsequent destructions, while the history of art is mankind's humanity in the public theater. In this theater the human figure is a symbolic metaphor, the Nude being an invention of Greek idealism (as Rock-&-Roll was an American invention), apposed to the nakedness of life. For 1,000 years the nude was the central subject of art, an idealized form, not an imitation but a pattern of perfection. The nude is not the subject of art, it is a form of art, disputing the doctrine of imitation. The body is ourselves. It is from rapturous scrutiny of this passion that ideal beauty was born, and it is that beauty that arouses physical passion in celebration and was then given its religious status. Physical desire, and this mysterious compulsive force reflected in the nude is an element of sanctity free of moral opprobrium, transforming the vulgar to the celestial. As all art is founded on faith, the Nude is the most complete example of the transmutation of matter into form while retaining its basically humanistic reality.