3 December 2010

Winter - Extraordinary Fibreglass Sculpture by Philip Haas

Visitors to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC have been perplexed and astonished by the latest addition there.  To celebrate an exhibition of the works of sixteenth century artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo - and cerainly in homage to the bizarre nature of the Renaissance artist, Philip Haas has created Winter a five meter high fibreglass scultpure.

I am not really sure I should say this, but the word Ent immediately sprang to mind - I know this is hardly how Tolkien imagined the giant shepherds of the trees yet I at once thought of them when I saw Haas' work. 

He is an American artist, best known for his film intallations at the Kimbell Art Museum.  Known as Butchers, Dragons, Gods and Skeletons it was hailed as one of the best shows of 2009.  Ge gas also had retrospectives of his art films at the Tate in London, the Pompidou in Paris and the Lincoln in New York among others.

He also made a feature film which was nominated for an Oscar, Angels and Insects as well as others including The Music of Chance and Up at the Villa.  This year and in 2008 he presented one-man shows at the Sonnabed in New york.  His new, extraordinary piece, is surely one of the best works of art of 2010.

Winter, which was unveiled in September 2010 is something quite magnificent.  A human head of (apparently) bark, dead branches, twigs, and covered with moss, fungi, vines, and ivy the object is both out of the ordinary and expressive.

It was inspired by Arcimboldo's 1563 painting of the same name, which we reproduce below.  Art as imitation indeed, but what a magnificent imitation of centuries old inspiration.

As you can see the scultpure is a remarkably accurate and faithful reproduction of the original oil on canvas.  Watch out for an upcoming Kuriositas feature on the life and works of Arcimboldo.  In way of anticipation we will leave you with one of our favorite works by this artist who truly was centuries ahead of his time -