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Silence and Tools: (Non)verbalizing Sculptor's Practice

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Abstract:

This paper discusses some aspects of nonverbal creative processes, starting with uses and defenses of silence by modern sculptors such as Constantin Brancusi and David Smith. It reads their practices together with certain statements by the artists, as well as those from contemporaries Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein. The methods applied by Brancusi when teaching his young apprentice Isamu Noguchi in 1927 are compared to Heidegger's discussion of tools in Sein und Zeit, published in the same year. With his technical background and firsthand knowledge of workshop methods, Wittgenstein comes surprisingly close to Smith's position in describing the nonverbal nature of making.

Keywords: CARVING; LANGUAGE; SILENCE; STUDIO PRACTICE; TECHNIQUE; TOOLS

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/174967810X12868890612204

Publication date: November 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Modern Craft is the first peer-reviewed academic journal to provide an interdisciplinary and international forum on the subject of craft. It addresses all forms of making that self-consciously set themselves apart from mass production— whether in the making of designed objects, artworks, buildings, or other artifacts.

    The journal covers craft in all its historical and contemporary manifestations. This ranges from the mid-nineteenth century, when handwork was first consciously framed in opposition to industrialization, through to the present time, when ideas once confined to the “applied arts” have come to seem vital across a huge range of cultural activities. Special emphasis is placed on studio practice, and on the transformations of indigenous forms of craft activity throughout the world. The journal also reviews and analyzes the relevance of craft within new media, folk art, architecture, design, contemporary art, and other fields.

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