John Chamberlain: New Sculpture @ Gagosian Gallery

Gagosian Gallery showcases an exhibition of the new sculptures by John Chamberlain. The artist is best known for his metal sculptures, constructed from discarded automobile-body parts and other modern industrial detritus, which he began making in the late 1950s.

Chamberlain’s works demonstrate the ability to transform raw industrial material into beautiful art pieces. The process of construction has its roots in industrial fabrication, given that mechanical car crushers often impart preliminary form to his raw materials. Visibly emphasising the original seams as well as the physical trace of his actions, the artist emphatically constructs assemblages that unite seemingly disparate mechanical elements. These are crumpled, crushed, bent, twisted, painted and finally welded to produce monumental pieces, some of which are the size of a family car. The new works are made of metal taken from mid-century American and European cars.

Chamberlain’s emphasis on discovered or spontaneous correlations between materials rather than a prescribed idea of composition have often prompted descriptions of his work as three-dimensional abstract expressionist paintings. He openly credits de Kooning, Kline, and David Smith as early influences on his own development. His sculptures are widely recognised as representing a major transition in the history of modern – particularly public – sculpture, when industrial materials became an acceptable, and, progressively, a preferred medium.
|Kostas Prapoglou