When you think of sculpture, what’s the first thing to pop into your head? Perhaps Michelangelo’s David? Possibly something abstract from Yayoi Kusama? Or maybe your mind leaps straight to the shocking works of YBA’s Damien Hirst or Marc Quinn, who famously cast his head in his own blood? Whichever artist springs to mind, we’ll bet that most people think of 3D art as something found in museums, rather than in their own front rooms.
One thing we know for sure is that sculpture is impossible to ignore. It provokes a reaction, and can make you stop in your tracks. Whether it sparks debate, passes cultural commentary, or is so controversial that people feel the need to tear it down (as we’ve seen over the last year), when you choose 3D art, you choose a talking point.
While our gallery walls are adorned with limited edition prints and originals, one element of Enter Gallery that warrants a closer look (and definitely a visit if you’re lucky enough to be visiting our beautiful city), is our range of sculpture and 3D art from some of the leading artists of our time. Today, we’re providing a rundown of a few of our most show stopping pieces, and the inspirations behind the works
While you may know Maxim as one third of The Prodigy, his artistic output explores the darker sides of humanity, and provides much-needed messages surrounding hope and the power of love.
One such piece is Hope, which was created during the pandemic in collaboration with 3D artist, Dan Pearce. The artwork depicts a child wearing a gas mask, preparing to pull the pin on a resin grenade (a motif seen across Maxim’s work) containing a beating heart. This heart represents the vaccine and the hope we all have that it will assist in a return to normality.
Balaclava Ballerina is another piece inspired by the events of 2020. This time it centres on the riots in the US, and the image of a black woman standing serenely while surrounded by police. Maxim explains:
‘Even though they looked really fierce with their batons like they were going to attack her, she wasn’t going to do anything. The balaclava ballerina is shooting rose petals out of the guns and spreading love over the policeman.
The ballerina is also taking something quite gentle and putting something dangerous in her hands, but in my head the guns aren’t threatening - they’re spreading love. Like anything in my work, the cats, the grenades, the ballerinas – they’re all about spreading love.’
The sculpture is intended as a message about the powerful role of the rebel in standing up for what’s right, and the importance of spreading nothing but love. Each of the limited edition of 10 sculptures has been hand-finished and comes with its own song, created by Maxim specifically for each individual piece.
Ryan Callanan AKA RYCA is another contemporary artist, regularly venturing outside the world of the flat form to bring us sculptured work with real impact. While it’s nothing new to depict cultural heroes in 3D form, with his pieces portraying modern icons like Biggie Smalls, Easy E and Tupac, RYCA brings the form hurtling into the modern day.
You can bring a dose of hip hop serenity to your space with Buddha Smalls, a whopping one-metre high sculpture of the rap icon smoking a blunt and sat on a pile of money, cast in faux ivory.
I See the Music is an interactive piece from RYCA’s latest show, Little Smiling Dots. Crafted from spray paint on solid birch plywood, the artist has integrated the piece with a Bluetooth stereo system to allow you to play your favourite tunes through a work of art.
Acid Disciple is another 3D piece from RYCA’s latest show, this time depicting one of the 12 disciples with his face transformed with the artist’s signature acid smiley. This union of religious iconography and rave culture makes a statement about the power of music, and the fervour with which we worship our musical heroes.
Next up, we have Aroe - a Brighton born-and-bred street artist, known as a founding member of MSK, one of the world’s most controversial graffiti crews. With his range of original artworks and prints, Aroe has successfully brought graffiti inside the gallery, and shown the art world the discipline and expertise that goes in to mastering the art of graffiti.
We recently hosted Aroe’s sold out Build and Destroy show at the gallery, and one aspect of the show that made serious waves was his selection of 3D printed Uzi machine guns, playfully emblazoned with the words ‘Crime Pays’.
Aroe is a passionately anti-gun, but Uzi’s have regularly featured in his work as a comment on out-of-date ideas about what it means to be a man.
Through his art, Magnus Gjoen is known for delving into the balance between power and fragility, life and death, and beauty and destruction. By teaming the macabre or the deadly with exquisite patterns or paintings, Gjoen reminds us of humanity’s capacity for creating beauty one minute, and total devastation the next.
In There are Some Dead Who are More Alive Than the Living, Gjoen’s sculpture of a skull serves as a modern momento mori – reminding us of the inevitability of death. By adorning his skull with the pattern of 18th century Delftware, the sculpture is intended to communicate the delicate balance between life and death.
We hope this selection of sculpture has whet your whistle for more. You can check out what other 3D artworks we have in store here.