Atraction/Repulsion A criticism paper/statement from an art school student discussing the role of attraction and repulsion using examples of sculptors working in the 1970's.

Essay by just_meUniversity, Master's December 2002

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Attraction/ Repulsion

I believe that something can be both attractive and repulsive at simultaneous moments. The last fifty years is filled of art that possesses this quality. In the sixties art was challenged again this time by the "anti-form". Minimalism left an unsatisfied need for direct matter. Performance art became a good arena for expression. Carolee Schneeman's Meat Joy (1964) was a performance with half naked figures covered in animal blood rolling around one another. Morris at the same time argues that art needs a 'baseness, a kind of primitiveness, as part of our experience". Richard Serra splashes molten metal against a wall. Metal being a traditional material then altered in an untraditional way creating a new beauty. Eva Hesse's transformed materials like muslin and cheesecloth into works that have been criticized as "funerary" and stressed "deathliness". Joseph Beuys is another sculptor that uses the element of attraction and repulsion, especially in his Fat Chair (1963).

Fat became important to his work after a plane crash rescue while serving for the war. The chair and fat relate to the human body. Parts of the body that he stresses are those dealing with digestion, excretion, and sexuality while transforming the 'slimy' substance of fat. Lucus Samaras's work deals with the absent figure like Beuys and with a mix of materials and traditional ideas. His "intimate but quite lethal things" relates to the human -eyeglasses that shaped to the human head, knives shaped to the hand, and chairs with their direct relation to the human bodies arms, legs and feet. Mixing the materials of pins, knives, and razor blades with flowers, yarn and mirrors creates a feeling that makes you want to simultaneously approach the work and yet move away from it. He wants you to come up and look but...