From the archaic funerary and sacred stones to the most recent three-dimensional objects, sculpture has been determined by a dualistic tension between the urge for imitation of natural forms (mimesis) and the desire to freely shape autonomous configurations (abstraction). Within such a complex history, the second half of the 20th century has been a particularly intense period. Besides their abstract works, many sculptors developed an extraordinarily rich theoretical discourse. This collection of essays presents some of the most eminent protagonists of this crucial historical moment by focusing on the artists’ “own words”. In their analysis, the contributors have followed three key-notions – “Sensation”, “Idea”, and “Language” – that fruitfully collect different artists under a common conceptual arch and show the aesthetic relevance of abstraction in sculpture. This book addresses high-level undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the scholarly community in the fields of aesthetics and art criticism, art history and art theory, visual, cultural and media studies.
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Cristina Baldacci is an art historian and Fellow at the ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry. Her publications include Quando è scultura (with Clarissa Ricci; 2010), Montages (with Marco Bertozzi; 2018), and Archivi impossibili (2016), a monograph on archiving as artistic practice.Michele Bertolini teaches Aesthetics and Art Criticism at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Bergamo, Italy. He has authored L’estetica di Bergson (2002), Deleuze e il cinema francese (with Tommaso Tuppini; 2002), and La rappresentazione e gli affetti (2009).Stefano Esengrini teaches Philosophy and History at the undergraduate level. He has published, among other works, Dal silenzio l’immagine (2015). He is currently working on a book on the genesis of the work of art in 20th century painting and sculpture.Andrea Pinotti is Professor in Aesthetics at the Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy. His publications include Estetica della pittura (2007), Empatia (2011; French translation, Empathie, 2016), and Cultura visuale (with Antonio Somaini; 2016).