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Galerie Sommerlath

"Golden Wave" Minimalist Vertical Fluid Sculpture by Lila Katzen

"Golden Wave" Minimalist Vertical Fluid Sculpture by Lila Katzen

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Lila Katzen said, "I feel marvelous when my works find a home. They are like my children. They are my links to the past. They are what I am."

The sculpture proposed here consists of a thick and flat, straight metal length, which, when manipulated, resembles a minimalist coiled snake. The beauty of abstraction emerges in transforming this cold and stiff material into a vibrant structure. The copper-bronze from which this work is created is the first man-made metal fusion. From its initial rigid state to its final curves, Lila Katzen offers us a unique subjectivity of perception. The convolution of the form indicates movement, giving the inert metal an illusion of life and observing how it interacts with light both inside and out, right side up and upside down. The enchantment of non-objective art is found in its finished form and the journey of its making. This process, which reflects the transformation of an industrial raw material into a voluptuous ribbon, demonstrates the transformative power of the human imagination.

This technique of stretching metals explores their previously unnoticed flexibility. The process requires instant and precise manipulation of the material, with an exact understanding of the desired result. In her own words: "There's no room for error. You can't restart it. It will lose its elasticity."

This indoor sculpture's abstract quality and poetic aspect evoke a sensory fusion of the tangible and intangible, heightening its beauty, which lies in the intriguing transformation of an inanimate piece of metal into a seemingly living structure. We can see the traces of a patina, Katzen’s hands' intervention, and the tools used to bend and manipulate the material as if the metal had been brushed, infusing the cold alloy with a human sensuality.

Even in its static state, the sculpture seems to move, thanks to its undulatory characteristics and the reflection of light that becomes part of the artwork.

Born in 1932, in Brooklyn, Lila Katzen began studying painting at the Art Students League. She continued her studies and earned a BFA at The Cooper Union, New York City. Katzen later attended the Hans Hoffman School of Art in New York and Provincetown, MA. An accomplished painter, in 1955, Katzen had her first solo exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
An encounter with renowned sculptor George Segal in 1964 prompted Katzen to focus on sculpture and became interested in Minimalism. Her sculpture, Liquid Tunnel, comprised light and fluorescent liquid, and the 1970 Sao Paulo Biennale won her international attention. During the early 1970s, Katzen moved away from the philosophies of Minimalism and instead chose to create works that encouraged human interaction. This decision led Katzen to push stainless steel and aluminum to creative heights in the 1980s and 1990s, resulting in aesthetically striking works that were laden with meaningful content relevant to society and humanity. Katzen passed away on September 20, 1998, in New York City.

During her prolific career as an artist, Katzen was awarded many solo exhibitions, including shows at the Montgomery Museum of Art in Alabama (1996) and Lila Katzen: Force I at Wichita State University’s Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art, Kansas (1995)—her participation in group exhibitions is equally extensive. Her works are in collections at the De Cordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA; Baltimore Museum of Art, MD; the Birmingham Museum of Art, AL; the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Santa Monica, CA; and Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT.

PERIOD: Late 20th Century
CONDITION: Excellent
MEASUREMENTS: Height: 27" Diameter: 13"
CREATOR: Lila Katzen

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