Friday, April 19, 2013

Public Art: United Enemies by Thomas Schütte

United Enemies is the title of two bronze sculptures by German artist, Thomas Schütte brought by the Public Art Fund (PAF) to Central Park from March 5 – August 25. The sculptures are installed in the Doris C. Freedman Plaza at 60th Street and Fifth Avenue. It is the first U.S. exhibition of the sculptures, which were initially shown at the Castello di Rivoli in Turin in 2011 and then at the Serpentine Gallery in London last year. The sculptural installation consists of a pair of two-headed 13 foot pieces bound together and struggling to tear apart, each supported by three pegs.

Mr. Schütte has described the pieces as part political caricature, the product of a 1992 visit to Rome when he explained "heads of state and others were being exposed and discredited and sent to jail. So the caricature and the satire were a reality.” He explained that the figures were “modeled in isolation but bound in pairs, emerging in parallel."

"They are emotional things that we can all relate to," explained PAF director and chief curator Nicholas Baume. "Think dysfunctional family or simply the battles wihin ourselves. That’s what’s so brilliant about the sculptures. They operate on many different levels." Mr. Baume has said "Thomas Schütte's work always balances the political and personal", and through such light believes they could be seen as 21st-century examples of the distorted countenances on the "character heads" of the 18th-century German sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt or the satirical political caricatures of the French artist Honore Daumier.


Anonymous said...

They are amazing - the faces say it all. Thanks Noel. JanUK

Alice said...

Yes, I noticed they are legless. I really need to shut off the TV.