Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Claes Oldenburg

Claes Oldenburg is a contemporary artist who transforms everyday objects into the unusual. Often he does not change the actual look of it, but the function is clearly changed; the use of scale and texture in his work is the most interesting and thought provoking part of it. Please pardon my lack of dates and dimensions; it was quite difficult to find that information for some reason.


When I saw this one, I knew I had to talk about it. One of my boyfriend and I’s favorite past times is playing badminton in the summer in my back yard. So this piece is dear to my heart. When I saw this, I immediately wanted it in my own yard. What I enjoy most about this piece is that it looks as if it is in motion because it would not land like that when it fell on the ground. It is almost as if two giants are playing in the town or me and my boyfriend are playing in a small little park where we are the giants. It was fun to relate myself to this piece. The fact that something so giant that is normally so small lets us see the detail and the structural thought that went in to making this sculpture.

"Soft Toilet", 1966
 wood, vinyl, kapok fibers, wire, and plexiglass on metal stand and painted wood base

This piece is one where he plays with texture and again sight. This looks as if a porcelain toilet has literally deflated. You can’t help but think of sitting on this to do your business! The white shine mimics the porcelain look and that is what is most deceiving.

“Screw Arch” 1984
Here is a piece where he has changed not only the scale, but the thing itself. Screws are not bent into this arch shape; they are meant to be straight and tough in order to hold something together etc. This is not like the nature around itself at all yet this beautiful archway makes it become a part of the nature around it. It is odd to see a screw this giant! You can’t help but think that there is a large screw driver that is in the hands of another giant person. There is incredible detail to the objects in each one of his pieces, and that is important when making a deceiving piece more impactful.

“Big Sweep”
This piece I think is easiest to see a purpose with in it. Not only are these pieces extremely giant compared to their normal everyday size, they are cleaning up giant pieces of trash. Maybe he is trying to show that our world is actually full of trash, and something large and powerful is going to have to clean it up someday. I don’t know if I necessarily agree with the color and look of the broom, because it makes it less real for me somehow.

“Soft Drum Set”
This soft drum set is similar to the one he did with the toilet, and he also done a bath, light switches, and more. This one also is close to my heart because I love to play music, not the drums, but the guitar and the piano. And when I think about someone playing any instrument that is droopy and soft, the music it was intended to make would no longer be made. It’s sad in a way.

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