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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R3ST7DZ6B
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Poetic Space Open Access
- Author or creator
Andrew C. Hellmund
Peter Hide (Supervisor)
- Additional contributors
swing dance sculpture
- Type of item
- Research Material
My sculptures encourage the viewer to project their own experiences onto the work, to question the facts of visual existence with the engagement of movement, form, and texture. While I draw immense inspiration from Swing dance, Jazz music, Cubist forms, and Modernist Sculpture (including works by Peter Hide, Rob Willms, and Sir Anthony Caro), I ultimately create sculpture to explore ideas of perspective, exuberance, and hope, movement and space. I believe that my work with recycled materials has the potential to uplift and inspire. My hope is that through these forms and vivid ideas, expressed in three-dimensional space, we are able to learn from, be inspired by, and begin to re-examine our existing ideals of spaces and community and how we inhabit them.
My work is strongly influenced by Lindy Hop or Swing dancing. The dance originated as a form of free expression by African Americans in the 1920s in New York City at the Savoy Ballroom, the only mixed dance hall at that time in the United States. It is this freedom in form and expression that draws my interest. Jazz music is integral to the experience and creates a visual poetry, which is only possible as a result of hearing the rhythm and music. The spaces and forms created by moving dancers, either in pairs or solo, fuel my sculptural strivings to express movement.
Swing dance exudes a spontaneity of expression that is similar to my intuitive sculpture process. In dance, as you get better you start to understand the relationships between the moves and which moves work more seamlessly together or create a reaction or response by following each other. Similarly in sculpture, there are visual principles and techniques to help the visual experience. By knowing this information, the improvisor is able to create educated works.
Just as each dance is original, with influences from your partner or response to what is happening on the floor, each sculpture responds to forms and connectivity seen between the dancing forms. A certain call and response happens in both creative practices.
There is historical precedent for exploring and expressing movement through art. I have been especially drawn to Edgar Degas’s work—the emotion, energy and movement within his ballet dancers, expressed in his paintings. His sculptures capture a moment full of dynamic and powerful gesture, expressed through graceful and powerful forms.
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