Land art and site specific sculpture - land art uses the environment and its scale as its material. Concrete art is expressed in material itself with which the artist introduces her non-representational objective. Public art can be viewed and accessed by observers.
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sculpture by Lucien den Arend - HOME

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about my work and method

When I started working as a visual artist, more that twenty years ago, I did not consciously make use of mathematics and geometry in the process of realizing my ideas. The scientific approach was, certainly at that time, not a goal in itself. Instinctively, though, I consistently obeyed natural laws. In other words, every step in making a work had to be a logical one, certainly not resulting from feeling, contrary to what my teachers used to stress; for them even the measurements of a base were supposed to be a matter of feeling; al matters pertaining to composition, scale, color and placement were to be solved intuitively. I wanted rules, so, first of all, I rejected composition: while I was still at school one of my teachers declared me crazy for calculating the volumes of boxes we were to make and assemble into a composition. I wanted their volumes to be equal while their dimensions varied, attempting to exclude arbitrariness. For the same reason my work never existed out of more than two parts which were identical and combined in such a way that they formed a unity. My avoidance of please yourself composition has always been consistent. This also applies to the surface. Later on the surface of my work became plastic but only in such a way that its' plasticity was the direct result of a linear movement of my tools, following guidelines which in themselves constituted orthogonal frameworks. As my work evolved, the means became more important to me than the results. With this shift of interest I began to reevaluate my method and theory of construction, the results themselves becoming more and more witnesses to the means, or evidence of a process. When I work in conjunction with architecture its' orthogonal framework is assimilated by mine and my work is superimposed on it. Initially I mainly occupied myself with the circular motion within this framework. It seems that in the Dutch constructive tradition the curved line has always been taboo. For me though it took me around corners and gave me the possibility to express my ideas about the nonexistence of limited first, second, third and let alone the fourth dimensions, or rather the delimitation thereof.

Actually I don't find it important whether I can be called a landscape architect, environmental designer or even a sculptor for that matter. My work overlaps many fields. I do feel that, as an artist, my works should go beyond just the designing itself. Adding one's sculpture to a landscape can be very exiting (see Henry Moore). Creating a landscape around a sculpture needs more explaining: this can be a dangerous undertaking because it is an unnatural act to have a sculpture first and then pretend surroundings for it. You would be trying to marry two totally different entities. One of my first projects started out by the architect asking me to make a sculpture for a garden with a pond which he had sketched (DSW project - see my website). But, I was free to design the pond myself - he added that I would even be free to design the whole garden. I couldn't put it in words then, but I did understand that it would not work - to design a sculpture and then a garden to complement it. So I decided to make an environment in which I could imagine myself being there - using elements from my surroundings which had individual qualities of their own: traditional pruned linden trees, traditional curbstones, surfaces of grass, moving water, an impenetrable lava stone field and elements which I created myself - combining them into a kind of environmental assemblage of items which melted together into a visual arranged presentation with a contemplative Zen garden-like appeal. Maybe there are better ways to formulate this, but this is what came out of my keyboard now. I remember showing my initial sketch to Henry Moore in Italy the summer of 1970. He told me that he appreciated the fact that I had incorporated elements which I shaped myself into this environment. At that time I had already started to doubt whether this was actually an indispensable thing. Why shouldn't one be able to create a totally new visual and spatial experience by only using existing material and objects? In 1971 I started another environmental/landscape project into which I introduced a bronze sculptural element of my own - the Walburg project. After this the only landscape-like project into which I introduced a sculptural element of my own was the Suvanto Puisto, the park-project in Kajaani, Finland. I wonder if Henry Moore's words had that great an impact on me. I sometimes do feel the necessity of having a main sculptural element, which should not be an existing object from our daily environment with which we are already acquainted. I do use these as secondary elements of an environment just because of their inherent meaning). At the same time a personal sculptural element should not have too much influence - it should remain quite elementary and not dominate its surroundings.

A portrait of the sculptor Lucien den Arend.


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