Light Reactive Organic Sculpture

Light Re­ac­tive Or­ganic Sculp­tures com­prise an ex­ten­sive body of work that has evolved over the past two decades. The work fo­cuses on re­duc­tive in­ves­ti­ga­tions at the in­ter­sec­tion of sculp­ture and paint­ing, and ex­plores the con­tin­u­ously shift­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween light and ma­te­r­ial. De­spite an el­e­men­tal ma­te­r­ial vo­cab­u­lary — found wood, beeswax, and pig­ment — the work’s phys­i­cal con­stel­la­tion be­comes both the car­rier of an ex­plic­itly painterly event, while also be­ing the foun­da­tion of an im­ma­te­r­ial phe­nom­e­non. The pieces are of­ten ex­am­i­na­tions of phe­nom­e­no­log­i­cal processes, where a hol­low or empty space — a tan­gi­ble empti­ness — turns out to be the ac­tual cen­ter of the work. Op­po­sites and con­tra­dic­tions, as well as the com­plex di­alec­tic be­tween them, are the fun­da­men­tal themes. The or­ches­tra­tion of ma­te­r­ial and light, pres­ence and ab­sence, things found and things formed, all re­sist clear fix­a­tion, thereby main­tain­ing and cre­at­ing works with their own non-de­riv­able re­al­ity.

The pri­mary ma­te­r­ial or­ga­ni­za­tion is found wood that forms the base for color built with pig­ment and beeswax. The wood is har­vested from ur­ban de­bris at build­ing con­struc­tions and de­con­struc­tions, and in its worn and de­te­ri­o­rated con­di­tion, cre­ates an in­stant his­tory. These struc­tures be­come the foun­da­tion for an ar­chi­tec­ture of color in which the ma­te­r­ial is color, and the color is ma­te­r­ial. Built by sus­pend­ing vary­ing de­grees of pig­ment in layer over thin layer of beeswax, light trav­els into the wax and en­cir­cles the pig­ment. This re­sults in light re­ac­tiv­ity, and jux­ta­posed to the sta­tic, aged struc­ture of the wood, the sculp­tures’ pig­mented wax evolves and adapts to chang­ing am­bi­ent light sit­u­a­tions. These sculp­tures hold light.

Girardoni’s use of wax, influenced by Jasper John’s paintings with encaustic — such as Flag and Target — and related to Brice Marden’s use of the material in his opaque, monochrome pictures from the 1960s, ultimately led the artist to sculptural procedures: “Wax catalyzed the move away from ‘painting’ … The beeswax allowed me to ‘build’ color.” Girardoni prefers using wooden slats, boards, or parts of wooden beams as construction material, where traces of their use have been recorded. To this the artist applies the material color — pigmented wax. Through their ready-made character the artist instills a uniqueness and reference to life in the objects. At first glance, the works, which are oriented towards geometric forms and series, seem like minimalist art in the succession of Carl Andre, Sol LeWit and Donald Judd. The major difference in Girardoni’s works, however, is that they have an organic and human atmosphere, while the cubes, fences and plates, due to their industrial production, emanate coolness. (…) Even though Girardoni leaves both the inner and outer panels abstract, he is nevertheless concerned with a contemplative experience, and not solely with a matter-of- fact inventory of color, material, and structure. Joseph Beuys had attributed beeswax a symbolic-spiritual function, that of warmth and energy. These may also be experienced in Girardoni’s objects, paired with painterly, coloristic, and tactile qualities.

– Florian Steininger