-Brancusi called himself “the peasant from the Carpathians.”
-Had a lifelong fascination with Platonism.
-Minimalists were influenced by him.
-Cruel, Dadist wit: his sculptures often demonstrate a brutal and brutalized object that fails to find wholeness.
-Played a pioneering role in assemblage.
-After 1914 made the base of the sculpture an integral part of the sculpture.
– dramatic repudiation of “beefsteak” sculpture
– influences: Egypt, Romanesque figures
– philosophically, the sculpture is classical however: Plato’s Symposium: “lovers are the result of a bisection which has reduced us to a condition like that of flat fish, and each of us is perpetually in search of his corresponding tally…Love is the name for the desire and the pursuit of the whole.”
-Did many variations on the theme of the sleeping or severed head.
-standard Symbolist prop: evoke castration anxiety; Bracusi’s are more ovoid forms (eggs) and pregnant with the suggestion of new birth (birth of ideas as well?)
-suggestive of lightbulbs (electrification was just beginning: he was interested in new technologies)
-Sleeping white heads “allude to this brave new world presided over by electric satellites. Their perpetual mineral brightness suggests that our own condition will soon be one of sleeplessness, no longer subject to the natural phases of the moon.”
-A continual sense of dislocation and of friction between forms: the seamless flow of contours is repeatedly disrupted and sliced into.
-Fountains and water were important to Brancusi: “Sculpture is water.” (Brancusi”)
-“His multipart sculptures might therefore be said to aspire to the condition of dry or frozen fountains. They are mirages as much as oases – illusory utopias.”
-Friend of Duchamp and Leger: Duchamp’s “Fountain” (1917) builds on Brancusi ideas; Duchamp often represented Brancusi in New York to clients.