The Acrobat Series was born from hours spent sketching the circus professionals and students at work at Circus Space in early 2012.
Technically speaking, these performers present irresistible challenges to a sculptor, not least because much of their work happens in mid-air, while the finished sculpture must be rooted to its base. And whilst acrobatics express joy and beauty in movement, bronze sculpture is, of course, static and permanent, and the artist has to work hard to create the impression of motion.
But these circus performers are also an almost unbearably rich source of inspiration for an artist, especially one concerned with the condition of being human. The bodies hanging, leaping, or balancing exist absolutely in and of themselves, with no props or distractions. They operate entirely in the present moment, but each moment contains within it the momentum of the one before, and the potential for the moment which will follow it.
As you watch, the outside world simply fades away. In their practice, these artists exhibit such perfect and exceptional purity in their movements, such fearlessness, such mastery of themselves, such instinctive knowledge of the perfect point of balance. Every aspect of the body operates in perfect harmony in order to allow a certain movement to be executed. It seems to me, a more earth-bound artist, that here there is no room for questioning, for hesitation, for any sudden lack of courage or conviction. This is, of course the same with a drawing done in a few seconds, so it literally explodes onto the paper, with a trust that the marks drawn by instinct are the right ones. Here too, there is no room for self-doubt. The biggest challenge for me has always been to keep the freshness, or ‘feeling’ of the original sketch in the finished sculpture, and in most cases, at least four or five different versions of the sculpture will have been made and destroyed, before deciding finally to cast it into bronze.