New York, N.Y. – This fall, Eykyn Maclean will present an exhibition devoted to the work of Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964), the artist’s first solo-exhibition in New York City since 2005. The presentation will focus on Archipenko’s pioneering use of negative space within the human figure. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with Matthew Stephenson and with the support of the Archipenko Foundation, which will lend a number of works to the show. Matthew Stephenson is an independent fine art consultant and worldwide representative of The Archipenko Foundation and Estate.
“We are thrilled to reintroduce one of the most important sculptors of the 20thcentury to a New York audience and to explore his groundbreaking use of negative space, a term he entitled ‘space encircled’,” said Nicholas Maclean, co-founder of Eykyn Maclean.
The Ukrainian born artist is one of a small number of early 20th century masters to have immigrated to the United States, alongside such visionaries as Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst and Max Beckmann. A pioneer amongst contemporary avant-garde artists in Paris, Archipenko was one of the first to apply Cubism to sculpture. Upending traditional sculptural methods, the artist developed a new way to evoke the human form by inserting free space within the sculpture, an aesthetic play of interwoven solids, curves and voids that presents multiple contrasting views at once. This play of negative space would go on to directly influence such artists as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.
In addition to this novel and sensual approach to space and shape, Archipenko experimented with materials both traditional and unexpected, using methods of construction that departed from conventional modes of carving and molding. His work across disciplines produced a new term, “sculpto-painting,” as demonstrated with Oval Figure, a piece that draws upon the fundamental elements of both art forms to achieve its particular vitality.
Eykyn Maclean’s exhibition will include works from all periods of the artist’s life and in a variety of media, including terracotta sculptures, works on paper, sculpto-paintings and bronzes. A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue will feature essays on the title theme by Dr. Alexandra Keiser, Archipenko Foundation Research Curator and Professor Christina Lodder, Honorary Professorial Fellow in Art History at University of Kent, Canterbury. The catalogue will also include a new interview with the artist’s widow, Frances Archipenko Gray.
All artwork © Estate of Alexander Archipenko. All photography by Roz Akin.