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John Chamberlain

Olympus Photo

stainless steel, painted and chromed
1987
68 x 39 x 34 cm / 26 3/4 x 15 3/8 x 13 3/8 in.

Chamberlain began experimenting with found parts of scrapped car bodies in the mid-1950s. He felt a kinship with the Abstract Expressionist and said that he had the colour from de Kooning and the shapes from Franz Kline. Wrecked cars have been his main working material, often cut into ribbons. But when looking at his sculptures, anything but cars comes to mind. For “Olympus Photo” the artist has formed a sculpture from chromed and from painted steel strips. The painted elements turn to the left, the chromed ones to the right. The visible welding seams are coarse, the paint shows the process of shaping and crushing, which underlines the industrial process. But even though he worked in such a way and with such a material, the artist strove for balance and harmony. His titles often have ambiguous meanings. “Olympus Rally” was a motorsport event which, from 1986 to 1988, was part of the World Championship. Olympus is also a manufacturer of cameras – and the seat of the Greek gods. Chamberlain has turned a mundane material into a compelling work of art. His works have a sculptural quality that has inspired many other artists. Provenance available

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