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„Plastic art“ is a comprehensive designation of the artistic activity of creating structures, a process which, in times past, was accomplished by adding material to create three-dimensional forms in mimicry of nature; “sculpture”, on the other hand, designates a work of art shaped directly (in stone) by the removal of material. In this sense, the newest works by Linard Nicolay are prototypes of sculpture: eight hewn quarry stones of Laaser marble as the basis for artistic pursuit.
At first, literally carving one’s own perception of the world in stone appears to be anachronistic in the reality of today, permeated ever more by virtual worlds, computer-generated. In that light, how may we interpret the eight stones by Linard Nicolay?
An initial answer is given by close examination of the works themselves. The blocks, broken in package sizes, at first retain their natural forms which, through artistic elaboration of selected surfaces and edges, have been complemented and contrasted. The incorporated forms are also organic, that is, themselves borrowed from nature. The stone is completely enveloped by the sculptural drawing, giving us, therefore, no precise positioning of the finished work which can be placed at various angles on a pedestal. The eight stones not only displace space but also include through apertures the surrounding room within their domain. The relationship between volume and space varies, depending on whether the body mass appears as a closed or as an open space-defining form.
Classical sculptural themes, such as monumentality or allegory, are not the center of the artistic statement, but the stone itself. Only through his precise intervention does Linard Nicolay make evident the characteristics of the stone as a material, its structure, its strength and its form. Openings appear where artistically calculated and technically possible: forms developed upon nature’s indication. The sculptures unfold their effect through tension between the hewn and the unhewn surfaces. Perceived in this manner, the eight stones are not only effective in and of themselves but can also be considered as a representation of the imperiled equilibrium between the progress of civilization and the vulnerability of nature.
Jürg Graser, architect Zurich
(Translation: Dr. Carolyn Kayser)
© 2008 Linard Nicolay