Linear Sculpture - Lines in Sculpture
sculpture as the delineation and contour of form.
In sculpture, or rather all plastic art, a line is most often is the place
where two (or more) planes intersect. By depicting or creating lines,
one can suggest the presence of one or more planes. A line can describe,
showing delineation or, when materialized, result in linear form and can
become sculpture without tangible volume.
A line can indicate movement or direction. A dividing line can be utilized to suggest symmetry - or
During the early seventies I became increasingly aware of the lines in
my sculpture; it was the linear form which contained the sculpture. I not
only started to explore the contours of my sculpture, but discovered new
forms, which resulted from the connecting, or intersection of two bodies.
What constitutes form is its describing delimitation. The interplay between
contour and surface motivated me to evolve from making solid shapes towards
describing the outlines. Besides describing volume or space, lines can
be used to only suggest movement.
When a plane intersects a shape the result is a line describing the
form of the object and at the same time dividing it into two (or more)
I have always been interested in surfaces and the delimitation
of a shape. Linear contours suggest shapes and forms. So early on I was able
to suggest monumental forms by filtering excessive mass out of the equation
and creating transparent geometrical sculptures, which reacted to their
environment and the specificity of a site. Thus my site specific sculptures
In the early seventies I proposed a stainless steel sculpture for
a sports hall in Rotterdam. In imaginary planes, perpendicular and
parallel to the facade of the building, I inscribed circles which
made one, continuous spatial loop.
A proposal for Capelle aan den IJssel consisted of two meandering
lines - one an asphalt dike and the other a white, four meter high
concrete wall undulating from the land into the reservoir.
During the early seventies many architects and municipalities were
not yet too ready to extend their boundaries beyond a sculpture
installed in a given space. As I was already experimenting with
minimalistic linear forms, I proposed to make a free-form loop of
stainless steel pipe. Its undulating concrete base adapted to the
curve of the sculpture, making a strong physical connection possible
at the same time.
My first sculptures during the sixties and the seventies consisted
of two elements which are joined in a confluent manner. Continuity
of line was my goal. Earlier sculptures were closed shapes; this
stainless steel pipe sculpture was the first one based entirely
on the linear interpretation of the form.
This monumental linear sculpture was formed by hand, with the aid
of a hydraulic press. It had to be transported at night because
is was six meters wide. Below it can be seen after it was installed.
In 1973 my proposal for "earthscape" was accepted by the city of
Rotterdam. The location of the work was a twelve sided glass enclosed
interior space open to the sky. The round shape of this garden is
strengthened by the stainless steel endless linear form.
This cube is a study of the linear movement resulting from the intersection
of two curved planes, perpendicular to each other.
To accentuate the resulting linear demarcation of two intersecting
planes, I dotted this line - a way for me to say "this is what it
in my work "arcos" a spatial contour results from four folded segments
of smaller circles attached to the inscribed square of a larger
A few of my "monolinears" were etched on glass - my way to have
an oscillating curve in space.
This spatial line projects itself as a lemniscate; and, in essence,
it possesses identical characteristics. It is my first "monolinear"
which has been constructed from four circle segments - each with
an arc of 95 degrees. So instead of just not being able to construct,
it rises from the plane.; and, in essence, it possesses identical
Two congruent sculptures called "monolinears" seem to be placed
loose on the ground.
The location of "sail" is not very far from the sea. Even though
the wind would hardly move this linear sculpture, the effect of
a wind blown sail is there. Two identical shapes come together for
a part of their joint trajectory.
Two congruent linear contours, assembled in a perpendicular fashion
- sharing one third of their individual path.
One monolinear mirrors the other.
After having been commissioned in 1978 to make a proposal for sculptures
on seven sites in the new housing district of Duyvenkamp, in Maarssen,
Holland, it was accepted a year later. The ten sculptural elements
were to give a distinct character to Duyvenkamp, which looked pretty
much the same as the adjacent other housing areas. At the same time
the different artistic approaches in each area were to serve as
an aid for orientation for the pedestrian or cyclist entering a
particular district. My sculptures in Duyvenkamp are all variations
on a linear theme: the circle and its projections. This work, "one",
was constructed from two half- and two quarter circles, conjoined,
they delimit an imaginary volume, fully constructed from the same
radius - the center points forming a tetrahedron.
"two" The previous and next five images show my works in Maarssen,
Holland. With linear stainless steel sculptures I identified the
five entrances to this new housing district Duyvenkamp.
"three" identical elements help divide the bicycle route from the
footpath. They help identify this otherwise monotonous area. Their
linear forms are a graphical note between the soft greenery.
The linear description of five equal sized cylinders intersecting
each other in a perpendicular fashion.
"xyz" The linear description of three equal sized cylinders intersecting
each other in a perpendicular fashion (or a sculptural selection
of the describing lines of three identical cylinders around the
x, y and z axes).
The main element is eight meters high. Here the circular form is
the projection of its counterpart.
I had a wedge-shaped area, with a conical form, between the diverging
bicycle-/footpath and the entrance road, covered with a layer of
asphalt. On this conical surface I projected a circular stainless
steel line following the curved surface. This pure linear sculpture
forms the introduction to the series of linear sculptures which
are composed of projections of the circle; they are all constructed
from tubular material.
The morning sun projects the chromed monolinear form onto the surface
on which it rests.
A large (Ø10m) monolinear hangs from the ceiling of the LEAO School
in Rotterdam. The large surrounding line encircles and defines the
space below. The amplitude of the mobile is one meter.
"Lasso" was the first of my later sculptures making use of the spiral.
before this work I employed two dimensional curved lines, combining
them in such a way as to suggest a spiral movement.
This sculpture consists of three 180° revolutions of a spiral. But
the second revolution counters the two to which it is connected.
"Europa" as a silver brooch.
"Europa" as a silver ring.
"Surf" marks the entrance of the public swimming pool in Katwijk
aan Zee in Holland. Two segments of a circle meet at the summit
of the sculpture.
In my second discontinuous sculpture, the curved lines make reference
to a romanesque groin vault.
Two spirals depart from the same point - one spiraling to the right
and the other to the left; before their second revolutions begin,
they intersect. The result is a continuous line, where they began
their journey through space and the second meeting making an abrupt
end to their diverging movement.
Two spirals emerge from, and perpendicular to, the ground; during
their revolution, one crosses over the other as their pitch differs.
After they meet the ground as their tangent, their journey ends
abruptly. This sculpture is actually a monument for professor Durrer,
a prominent Dutch cardiologist. Instead of a bust of the man, I
proposed to make a monument to his profession, thinking of the graphic
lines of electrocardiograms.
In this sculpture, the continuous linear movement actually happens
at the four corners, where a spatial curve passes through a 90°
angle. Only my pseudo spirals can do that.
These curved stainless steel pipes emerge from the ground, in from
the left corners of the four niches. At first they are parallel
to the vertical facade of the sports center of Venray in the Netherlands.
My sculpture "insec" got its name because its wings reminded me
of an insect, while at the same time I refer to the secants that
separated the wings from the circular planes.
This is a very elementary sculpture. The two curved lines meet at
a ninety degree angle, the point where they meet being mitered.
If the mitered surface would have been a moveable joint, the two
half circled could be rotated until the curves close and form a
2.2.3D - a steel pipe constructed from hydraulically pressed segments
- a linear sculpture in Spijkenisse, Holland. The monumental size
of the sculpture (its summit of the arch is eight meters above the
ground) causes the perspective to play games with your perception.
This wire exercises a modified spiral - a totally free form, like
many others lying around my studios.
An equilateral triangle is the projection of this linear sculpture.
The projection perpendicular to this, presents itself as an ellipse.
Just like the sculpture above, this one has two extreme sides. here
I photographed my model in my stretched hand, simulating the final
effect which the sculpture will have. The monumental stainless steel
sculpture was installed on one of the traffic circles in Heemskerk,
Like an early
bronze sculpture, which I made in the sixties, I called this
stainless steel linear sculpture "discontinued continuity". At the
time, during the sixties, I was making sculptures, which were about
volume and mass; this sculpture is about the linear aspect in my
sculpture - movement along a line.
"Waves" was an eighty four meter long sculpture with a seven arcs
zigzag in The Hague.
"BNG" is a multiple, which got its name from the bank which commissioned
me to make an edition of this work. Each of the series consists
of five brass pipes, which swivel at the joints. The owners of the
multiple can make endless variations. In this way each owner always
has a unique sculpture, even though there are more of them. "BNG"
resulted in the large work below.
Like the trails of bouncing balls, these curves join together and
form a curvilinear interplay of movements, exploiting the forms
of a manmade hill in the center Of the town of Houten, near Utrecht,
Preceding the "BNG" and "waves" sculptures was "opening the arctic
circle", a twenty meter long stainless steel sculpture in Finnish
Lapland. To the local press I jokingly remarked that this was my
first figurative sculpture, because it actually is an opened circle.
After having installed "opening the arctic circle" in Finnish Lapland,
I took a small electric lamp up the slope of the Pyhä Tunturi,
one of the fells around Kemijärvi. During two-second
exposures I drew the contours of my sculpture in front backdrop
of the arctic landscape, one of the fells around Kemijärvi.
The A8 highway over the river Zaan in Holland - two monumental circular
lines encapsulate the bridge on both side of the river.
"Arcadia" is the name if this housing area in Heerhugowaard, the
Netherlands. I adopted this name for my sculpture, which is constructed
from circle segments of varying arcs. These are assembled in a seemingly
random way, to perform a dance, leaping continuously higher to form
an arch over the bicycle rout connecting two adjacent quarters of
One line, describes two halves of a circle, opened up to form a
projection of an ellipse for cars approaching the roundabout along
one of the axes of the two intersection roads - while those traveling
perpendicular to that axis see what appears to be a triangle standing
on its base.
Accompanying the movement of the cars on the highway, curved lines
form a ballet dance from one side of the road to the other - Varkaus,
Curved lines dancing a rondo in Collins Park in Miami Beach, Florida.
My proposal in 2005 describes the space in which a sculpture was
projected by the city; the space itself was to become the sculpture
in the center of which people could identify with the artwork.
"Making waves" is the motto under which my proposal for Muotiala,
a new town of Tampere was entered into a competition. Monumental
linears would mark the slope of the hillside - reaching into the
skies above the low-rise Finnish buildings.
A monumental stainless steel curvilinear dashes through the space
surrounding the plaza, ricochets off its tangent facade of the parking
garage and points to its counterparts on the other side of the street.
Separately installed stainless steel linear shapes, virtually continue
in space and reappear in unexpected places. But from a greater distance
the continuity can be comprehended.
Curved stainless steel strokes of the pen describe urban spaces
2006 - a proposal for Denver, Colorado. This main sculpture for
the plaza of the judicial center is constructed from two immense
"C" shaped stainless steel pipe circle segments and a shorter segment
connecting their summits like a lintel.
The 2013 proposal for a linear stainless steel sculpture, constructed
from two half circles and the hypotenuse of the angle between the
planes on which they lie.
Linear forms in land art and environmental projects
In 1969 my first opportunity arose to make an urban land art
project, incorporating various elements from our environment and
artifacts such as three linear elements evoking ducts which bridge
the undulating earth below them.
My third land art project was to be in Capelle aan den IJssel, near
Rotterdam. An elongated concrete, serpent-like form came up out
of the surface of the land, continuing into the water reservoir,
where it rose up with water being pumped up to its top and continuously
flowing downwards over its surface. Mirroring this shape, a meandering
little waterway made its path into the land.
In 1971 Zwijndrecht accept my proposal for my land art project on
the outskirts of the town. I called it the Walburg project. One
of the elements consists of a line of natural stone curb, perpendicular
to the base of a high tension pylon which I included in the project.
works©author: Lucien den Arend © 1998/present denarend.com
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