What the statue is supposed to look like. Model for “Construction in Space: Two Cones,” 1927. Photo © Nina & Graham Williams/Tate, London 2011 via the Tate Museum.
Brittle, brown, and crumbling, Naum Gabo’s sculpture “Construction: Two Cones in Space” is a harbinger of what is to come for artwork fabricated out of plastic. The sculpture, part of the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, has so deteriorated that it is no longer feasible to display.
The state of the sculpture today, housed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s storage.
Gabo was a key member of the Russian Constructivists, an avant-garde group active in the beginning of the 20th century. The Constructivists had many radical ideas: the autonomy of material, imbuing everyday objects (such as chairs and utensils) with aesthetic concerns, and using contemporary materials and technology to wipe away the past. Gabo’s use of plastic was rooted in another of their beliefs: in using contemporary materials to create a new art.
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