Dr. Nurit Cederboum –Artist and Interdisciplinary Researcher
In Constant Movement, Standing on One Leg - Arie Nahshon
It is frozen, made of bronze, anchored to its pedestal, permanently featured on a piece of grass, gazing into the distance or maybe inwardly into its own void. It is a sculpture, and therefore inanimate, ostensibly lifeless. Yet its creator has deemed it “in constant movemnt.”
And indeed it is. This figure made of metal, though fixated to its place and standing on one leg, does portray some sort of easy constant movement. Its missing parts, and those that are still there, are everywhere. A leg here, a hand there, the body angled to one side, the head tilted to the other.
This basic incongruity of the inanimate sculpture anchored to its place yet in constant movement is just one of the most fascinating contradictions encapsulated in this sculpture. It is a sophisticated interplay between the two- and three-dimensional. And here lies yet another contracdition, for a sculpture is three-dimensional by nature, but this one has many empty spaces punctuating its bulk, and only the eye and the viewer’s knowledge are filling and completing the body, the structure of the skull, or other body parts. It is a moving, dynamic sculpture, using flat surfaces, empty spaces and body contours, to create a free flow between open and closed, full and empty, flat and full-bodied, light and shadow, the sum and its parts.
The figure itself, despite the lightness and even gracefulness that this constant movement dictates, also exhibits some kind of sadness, which is very much evident in the mask’s facial expression. The gauntness, the skeletal look and the truncation of body parts remind us of wounded war veterans.
The figure is in constant movement, thus creating a human image, part boy part man, looking at times as if made of junk and somehow reminding us of Pinocchio, giving carpenter Geppetto the role of a blacksmith; or is it a scarecrow guarding a garden? The moving body extents its half-finished hands every which way, displaying to the world its very foundations, namely the skeleton, and thus inviting its whole surroundings to be part of it.
Nahshon’s sculpture indirectly echoes Paleoart, a sub-genre of Realism combining art and science. This art form has evolved to reconstruct or depict prehistoric life. Paleo artists were very knoledgeable in anatomy and tried to scientifically draw the shape of a specific animal. However, Paleoart is also created for aesthetic reasons, as art in and of itself. Nahshon’s sculpture alludes to this sort of art form, as seen by the skeleton that is part of the sculpture, which allows a lot of natural light to infiltrate and so it can be said to be all sun and bones
The scuplture, like Abraham’s tent in the Bible, is open to all and very welcoming. It can be argued this is another echo of that same constant movement, as people passing by are caught for a moment in that open frame of the figure, and become part of it.
While we can say this figure is hopping on one limb, and that is why it is in constant movement, we should also remember it is out on a limb, in a rather precarious position, and these very dialectics are part of its charm.