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Seven Logics of Sculpture

Encountering Objects Through the Senses

€ 25,00 each Add to cart

  • Offers engaging new thinking on sculpture in the contemporary cultural domain
  • Encourages readers to consider sculpture from a multifaceted, analytical and sensorial perspective
  • Of interest to fans of the book Failed Images, which in a similar fashion offered a different understanding of photography as medium

Author: Ernst van Alphen

Design: Sam de Groot

Series: vis-à-vis

Featuring work by: Carl Andre, Aldo Bakker, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Louise Bourgeois, Constantin Brancusi, Anthony Caro, Joseph Cornell, Saloua Raouda Choucair, Jeannette Christensen, Lygia Clark, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Alberto Giacometti, Dan Graham, David Hammons, Raoul Hausmann, Barbara Hepworth, Heringa/Van Kalsbeek, Eva Hesse, Hans Hovy, Ann Veronica Janssens, Donald Judd, Maria van Kesteren, Per Kirkeby, Katarzyna Kobro, Jannis Kounellis, Geert Lap, Sol Lewitt, Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, Michelangelo, Henry Moore, Bruce Nauman, Meret Oppenheim, Pablo Picasso, Giuseppe Penone, Robert Rauschenberg, Charles Ray, Auguste Rodin, Medardo Rosso, Fred Sandback, Marien Schouten, Richard Serra, David Smith, Alina Szapocznikow, Johan Tahon, Didier Vermeiren, Rachel Whiteread, and many others

Info: vis-à-vis series, pb, 23,4 x 16,5 cm, 240 pp., English, Spring 2023, ISBN 978-94-93246-15-7, € 25,00


On Thursday, 10 November 2022, Ernst van Alphen gave a presentation about Seven Logics of Sculpture at WIELS, Brussels. Click here to find out more.

In the media:
- (Only in Dutch) Click here to read the review of Seven Logics of Sculpture by Stefaan Vervoort in De Witte Raaf (226, November-December 2023)

Sculpture as a specific medium is rarely investigated within a deeply cultural, philosophical context, nor within visual art itself. Whilst discussions about installation art, performance art, or other 3D art forms are widespread, the discourse on sculpture seems to be stuck in historical, material, or thematic frameworks. This is a loss for our understanding of art in general, and of sculpture in particular. In order to assess contemporary art practices, one should have a better understanding of the logics that are at work within sculpture as a medium, and how they differ from other art forms.
This book explores ‘seven logics’ of sculpture—not as a historical overview, but with a contemporary analytical approach, drawing from literature, philosophy, psycho-analysis, architecture, and mundane daily culture—that help understand specific manifestations of sculpture and the active perception by the viewer. It relates to aspects such as the senses, the skin, the body, objecthood, narrative dynamics, the shaping of space, fragmentation, and montage.
Seven Logics of Sculpture opens up new ways of looking at, understanding, and appreciating sculpture, placing the medium at the heart of art’s experience; how sculpture can be shaped, assembled, encountered, seen and embodied.

Ernst van Alphen (b. 1958) is a cultural analyst and a professor emeritus of Literary Studies at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society. His publications include Shame! and Masculinity (Valiz, 2020); Failed Images (Valiz, 2018); Staging the Archive (Reaktion Books, 2014).