Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Constantin Brancusi - The Endless Column, The Table of Silence and The Gate of the Kiss

Constantin Brancusi (Tout l'art) (French Edition) "To see far is one thing, going there is another." Constantin Brancusi

 His words full of magic senses and his work have been fascinated me since childhood.

" Simplicity is not an objective in art, but one achieves simplicity despite one's self by entering into the real meaning of things." Constantin Brancusi.

Constantin Brancusi was a central figure of the modern movement and the pioneer of abstraction,the innovator of world art / sculpture by an evolutionary search for pure forms and primordial sources of  folk creation. He carved in wood, limestone and marble or molded in steel and bronze- sometimes in a single work, mounted one piece of art in top to another, considering “the base” as an integral part of his artwork.  

 "Thinks are not difficult to make, what is difficult is putting ourselves in the state of mind to make them". Constantin Brancusi 
Constantin Brancusi - Endless Column / Coloana Infinitului - Targu Jiu - Romania

His monumental and subtle works are housed in the New York Museum of Modern Art and in Bucharest in the National Museum of Art of Romania, as well as in other major museums around the world. The Philadelphia Museum of Art currently has the largest collection of Brancusi sculptures in the United States. Brancusi's onetime studio in Paris is open to the public very close to the Pompidou Centre. His sculptures was sold with highest prices that sculpture pieces had ever been sold for auctions: "Danaida" for   $18.1 million in 2004 and piece from the "Bird in Space" series for $27.5 million in 2005.

Brancusi: Revised EditionConstantin Brancusi was born on the 19th of February 1876, in the village of Hobita, in Gorj, near Targu Jiu.  He graduated the School of Arts and Crafts from Craiova, the School of Belle Arte in Bucharest and then he was accepted at Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts from Paris. Since 1910, he starts working at the cycle of the Birds and also at the cycle Miss Pogany, and in 1914, he had his first personal exhibition in New York. For 20 years (1919-1939), he had the most procreative period and he had plenty of personal exhibitions, and  he was granted with many medals at different contests/ group exhibitions. He died on the 16th of March 1957, at Paris.

 “ In order to make free and universal art one must be a God to create it, a King to control it and a slave to make it.” Constantin Brancusi

In Targu Jiu, one of the important cities from Oltenia, Romania, the artist started in 1937 the execution of the monumental sculptural ensemble, which constitutes an homage to the hero soldiers fallen during the First World War.  The Târgu Jiu Sculptural Ensemble marks the apex of his artistic career and was made at the initiative of Aretia Tatarescu, president of National League of the Women of Gorj. The  three sculptural components are: Table of Silence, The Gate of the Kiss and Endless Column and are disposed on an axis 1,275 meters long, oriented from West to East, in the Central Park. The whole ensemble from Targu-Jiu was inaugurated on October 27th, 1938.  The monumental Ensemble from Targu Jiu was enlisted after 1989 to be accepted as UNESCO World Heritage Site, alongside with Romanian Athaneum, the Fortress of Histria and the Cantacuzino Palace.

“ The people who call my work 'abstract' are imbeciles; what they call 'abstract' is the most realistic, because what is real is not represented by external form but by the idea behind it, the essence of things” Constantin Brancusi

Constantin Brancusi - The Silence Table / Masa Tacerii - Targu Jiu - Romania
The Table of Silence (Masa Tacerii) is made in limestone with dimensions: panel diameter 2, 15 meters, thick 0,43 m and the leg is 2 m in diameter and 0,45 m thick. The Table of Silence represents the table around which gather the soldiers before confronting their enemy.
Constantin Brancusi - The Silence Table / Masa Tacerii - Targu Jiu - RomaniaAt the same time, the 12 chairs stand in silance for the time disposed in hourglasses. Some make an analogy with The Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci the monument being composed of 12 seats (representing the apostles) and in the middle Jesus Christ place.  Next comes the Chairs Alley representing those who participate without any implication, waiting for the end.

Constantin Brancusi - The Gate of the Kiss / Poarta Sarutului - Targu Jiu - Romania
The Gate of the Kiss (Poarta Sarutului) is the second element of the ensemble. Technically speaking it looks like a triumphal arch having 5,13m high;  on each side of the arch the pillars (1,69 m width)  have carved the symbol of kiss: two halves of a circle, so characteristic of Brancusi's work, on every side- the motif of the eyes looking inside. The 5,45m long architrave has also carved this symbol, like a watermark.  It’s significance is: the Gate of the Kiss makes the transition to another life,  symbolizing the triumph of life over death. The second meaning of the  gate:   the kiss means union of the eight columns /regions that was attached to the mother country, Romania.

Constantin Brancusi - Coloana Infinitului / The Endless Column - Targu Jiu - Romania
The Endless Column (Coloana fara Sfarsit/ Coloana Infinitului) or the Column of Gratitude: 29,33 m high, is the third element of the ensemble, being situated at the eastern extremity of the axis forming the Alley of Heroes.
Brancusi's Endless Column: Targu-Jiu, Romania (World Monuments Fund)"Column of the infinite sacrifice" given by Romanian heroes to their nation is made out of 17 and half  rhomboidal cast iron modules, measuring 1,80 m high each and about 860 kg, moulded in the Central Workshop from Petrosani. The modules are fixed on a steel axis and their number means the year when Romania adhere to the  First World War. Otherwise, the Endless Column is considered to be the “spiritual will” of Constantin Brancusi.

Brancusi’s sculpture is linked to a mythical past and a distant cultural memory of the Romanian folkloric tradition. Materially and spiritually he knew how to combine the fragility of the memorable with the living tension of the contemporary.  Brancusi's sculpture and his ideas about art continue to challenge and inspire contemporary artists.


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