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Katarzyna Kobro: One of the Most Progressive Interwar Avant-Garde Artists

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Avant-Garde is a broad term often used to describe many of the artistic (Katarzyna Kobro) movements of the early to mid 20th century. It is most commonly associated with Expressionism, constructivism, and cubism, although many other art movements of the time also fall under the category of avant- garde art.

Avant-Garde’sAvant-Garde’s aim as a philosophy is to explore the new, the untried, the radical, and the experimental to achieve something never seen before. An Avant-Garde artist pushes the boundaries of what is possible.

One such Avant-Garde artist is Polish sculptor Katarzyna Kobro. Born of Russian descent, Kobro would impact the world of sculpture in several ways. She is a pioneer of abstract multi-dimensional sculpture and is regarded as one of the essential female sculptors of the 20th century.

Rze┼║ba Przestrzenna

Rzezba Przestrzenna is perhaps the most famous and most distinguishable sculptor in Kobro’s entire collection of work. Its sleek finish and multi-dimensional composition perfectly embody all the artistic concepts and beliefs held by Kobro as a constructivist artist.

Known simply as “Spatial Sculpture” in English, this three-piece sculpture holds many of the Futurist and Cubist ideas in its construction. However, its post-war influence can also be perceived in its shapes and angles’ mechanical, industrial, and almost weapon-like nature.

They are sculpted with high-quality monochrome steel and a polished matte finish. It would also be the inspiration for the “Temple of Light” series of sculptures Kobro would complete a couple of years later.

Spatial Composition No. 6

“Spatial Composition No. 6” follows many of the other trends of Kobro’s other Abstract Geometrical structures. However, with that being said, this series of sculptures takes on more of an Expressionist approach similar to the paintings of Wassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian.

 

Like Kandinsky and Mondrian’sMondrian’s paintings, Kobro adopts the same red, blue, yellow, and black color scheme. This, accompanied by the sharp geometric squares and rectangles also associated with Expressionism, results in the re-creation of the Abstract art style into the physical form of sculpture.

Even the name “Spatial Composition” can be seen as a direct homage to Mondrian’sMondrian’s “Composition” paintings to which the two share a great deal of similarity. The purpose of the sculpture can be seen as a representation of the newfound relationship between Katarzyna Kobro art and science that emerged at the end of the 19th century.

Nude No. 3

Part of the “nude” series of sculptures, Nude No. 3 is arguably the crowning jewel of the entire collection. In the Nude series itself, contrary to the sharp cubist shapes that Kobro is known for, she intimately explores the more sultry curves of the natural female body instead.

The statues consist of an assortment of different poses revolving around the themes of pain and suffering. All of the sculptures remain faceless. Most of them also appear without arms, while those with arms only use them to protect and cradle themselves.

These innovative and abstract wonders represent so many different feelings and perfectly capture the overall emotion of pain. They embody the timeless suffering endured by women everywhere and can also be seen to represent the suffering of women affected by war, which Kobro herself was one of.

Sculpture Spatiale

culpture Spatiale or simply Space Sculpture, is one of the most iconic and influential sculptures of the entire twentieth century. It has inspired dozens of sculptors since, but moreover, it has also influenced generations of interior designs and furniture makers.

Kobro was seemingly obsessed with the science and geometry involved in acute spatial dimensions. This scientific approach to shape is incorporated into every one of Kobro’s sculptures, but perhaps never more visually appealing than in her Sculpture Spatiale piece.

The Polish sculptor’s ability to bring a sense of balance, harmony, function, and flow to different geometrical shapes is unprecedented. It is easy to see how Kobro’s sculptures inspired many of her future contemporaries. You only have to look in your local IKEA or furniture store to see the influence of Kobro’s art.

Nu Debout

Nu Debout or Standing Nude is a subject that has been depicted by several artists of Katarzyna’s time, including great painters such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Each has attempted their take on a symbol that has come to represent a great deal to the modern movement.

In Kobro’s case, the symbol was taken even further, resulting in a somewhat controversial collection of sculptures. Similar to her “Nude” collection, Katarzyna’s standing nudes are portrayed as faceless and, for the most part, armless. However, this time around, the figures are cast in a shade of black patina.

At the time, minimal African culture was represented in mainstream art circles as racial division remained throughout much of the world. Kobro sought to bridge that gap and use the African mother goddess motif as the focal point of her collection. There would be no suffering displayed either, only warm and loving emotions.

Conclusion

Katarzyna Kobro, polish sculptor, will be one of the most innovative and influential artists of the entire Avant-Garde movement. Her Modernist, Cubist style is not only displayed in museums worldwide but imitations of her design ideas can also be found in the dozens of building’s interiors. Be sure to learn about Katarzyna Kobro if you have an interest or stake in the subject of sculpture.

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