Seven Logics of Sculpture


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240 pp.

From architectural space to narrative dynamics: a brilliant new conception of sculpture’s unique modalities. While discussions about installation art or other three-dimensional art forms are widespread, the discourse on sculpture seems to be stuck in historical or thematic frameworks. Drawing from literature, philosophy, psychoanalysis and architecture, Ernst van Alphen explores “seven logics” of sculpture: the Logic of Inner Necessity; the Logic of Narration; the Logic of Space; the Logic of Volume; the Logic of Assemblage; the Logic of Architectural Space; and the Non-Logic of Singleness. These themes articulate the modalities specific to sculpture in a fresh and brilliant conception. Artists discussed include Carl Andre, Louise Bourgeois, Constantin Brâncusi, Joseph Cornell, Marcel Duchamp, Eva Hesse, Donald Judd, Sol Lewitt, Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, Michelangelo, Bruce Nauman, Meret Oppenheim and Rachel Whiteread. Ernst van Alphen (born 1958) is a cultural theorist and a professor emeritus of literary studies at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society. He is the author of Failed Images (Valiz, 2018) and Staging the Archive (Reaktion Books, 2014), and the editor of Shame! and Masculinity (Valiz, 2020).