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Panel | Transformations in Postwar Sculpture

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Recording of the panel "Transformations in Postwar Sculpture" from January 21, 2021, which was part of the symposium "Future Bodies from a Recent Past—Sculpture, Technology, and the Body since the 1950s".

The postwar period—a marker of both continuities and ruptures from WWII—sees an impressive popularization of technologies: cybernetics, media and communication technologies instill hopes for fundamental changes in society, while being rooted in the developments and destruction advanced by the military-industrial apparatus of WWII (and before). This panel will focus on three artists—David Smith from the US, Eduardo Paolozzi from the UK, and Atsuko Tanaka from Japan—and their ambivalent relationship to the transition from the mechanical to the so-called information age in the late 1950s and 1960s. Looking at the respective practices and their cultural embeddedness opens a view on sculpture as a (formal) language and subject matter that is deeply entrenched in the technological changes of its time.



Anne M. Wagner | David Smith: Sculpture as Sign

Alex Kitnick | New, Newer, Newest: Eduardo Paolozzi’s Laocoön

Namiko Kunimoto | Tanaka Atsuko: Circuits of Technology and Female Labor



Patrizia Dander



Future Bodies from a Recent Past—Sculpture, Technology, and the Body since the 1950s


Fig.: David Smith, “Forging” series of sculptures in progress, Bolton Landing Dock, Lake George, NY, ca. 1956, Estate of David Smith © 2020 Estate of David Smith / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021