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Negative Space

Sculptures and Installations in the 20th and 21st Century
The last exhibition to deal comprehensively with the question »What is modern sculpture?« took place in 1986 at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris under the title »Qu'est-ce que la sculpture moderne?«. The exhibition »Negative Space« at ZKM | Karlsruhe picks up the spear where the Centre Pompidou dropped it.

Since antiquity, the history of Western sculpture has been closely linked to the idea of the body. Whether carved, modeled or cast, statues have been designed for centuries as solid monoliths – as substantial and self-contained entities, as more or less powerful and weighty positive formations in space.
Our expectations concerning modern or contemporary sculpture are still essentially driven by the concept of body sculpture, which is formally based on the three essential categories of mass, unbroken volume, and gravity. Whether body-related like Auguste Rodin's or abstract like Richard Serra's, sculpture is still and foremost mass, volume, and gravity.

The exhibition Negative Space endeavors to change the dominating view of modern and contemporary sculpture by telling a different story. With the aim to investigate the relationship between sculpture and space in a decidedly spatial way, the presented art works address the sculptural phenomenon in relation to diverse spatial concepts: Open spaces, surrounding, hol- low and intermediate spaces, mirror, light and shadow spaces, virtual data spaces, etc. With more than 200 exhibits Negative Space offers a comprehensive overview of the art of sculpture, which – in contrast to the traditional concept – is committed to contour, emptiness, and levitation.
Negativer Raum. Skulpturen und Installationen im 20. und 21. Jahrhundert. © ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe
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