Thursday, March 28, 2013

New concrete love from hinsidan (Sweden)

I’m really excited to share with you some really old news. Casting in membrane molds has been done before. The interesting aspect of this fact arises when the old practice hits your radar. Today, mid-1960’s work by Swedish artist Lars Englund hit my radar and blew me away!

[Image of Swedish artist Lars Englund in a concrete factory in Gröndal, 1967. via]

It is a thrill to browse through (web)pages of a long sold out mastodon catalogue of his 2005 exhibit at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden. For the fabric formwork experience it is obviously his work Volume 1964-67. The images shown here are from the artist’s web site and show piece made from materials such as rubber, plastic, concrete, and even bronze.  The pieces are thus inflated (rubber) and cast as positives or negatives over either flexible membranes, plastic sheets (?) or solid casts.

[Images of the Volume series, 1964. top "Tool for Volume", plastic, and bottom "Volume" in bronze. Via]

Space, architecture, sculptural form
Born in 1933, the artist has had a long carreer exploring scales and techiques that bridges space, architecure, and sculptural form. His work is exciting for the Concretely blog because he combines organic formal language with geometric abstractions (as described here, in Swedish)

“Lars Englund went his own way when he, like the American 1960s minimalists was inspired by the new industrial materials. When his organic forms met rubber, plastics, carbon fiber and concrete he created works that still seem hyper-modern. The materials have always been allowed a life of their own in Englund’s art, from the early swelling rubber volumes to the sensual experiments in plastic and spring steel.” Via

[Lars Englund at the Trelleborg Rubber Industri, 1965]
[Volume, rubber, 1965]

Structure, space, material
Originally coming from the world of painting, he transferred his ideas to the three-dimensional realm, and yet line remains a decisive element in his work. It defines a corpus by making visible the limits that mark its separation from its surroundings, thus placing emptiness and space in a tense relationship to one another. In so doing, he repeatedly seems to question in a frame visually perceptible to the beholder what and how much (material, for example) is necessary to make the limits of space visible. Here, Englund not only raises questions about an aesthetic engagement with the subject of space and the void and a dialogue with the surroundings, but also opens the field for questions on the importance of space and limits in the territorial context. An additional facet is the philosophical dimension of “empty space” in the sense of leeway or room to develop in every sense. His work thus reveals a sensitive topicality and offers delicate room for interpretation, without having to stand at the foreground, for his reduced vocabulary of forms is striking in its clarity and unobtrusiveness and operates independently. Via
[Surface Support Structure, small sphere, 1968-74. Via. The Swedish title of this series is Bärverk, which could translate to grid structure or system. Verk, however means 'work' as both action and structure]
[Surface Support Structure, detail, Huddinge Hospital, 1973]
[Bärverk: Prototypes and sketches for Spatial Surface Support Structure are presented at Galerie Burén in Stockholm in 1974]
[Bärverk. Studies for Surface Support Structure, the Torpedo workshop, Skeppsholmen, Stockholm, 1970s]

Pardon the art gallery talk. Yours Concretely is a formwork nerd and I love the temporary spatial aspects of formwork structures before a pour. A part of creating space is to construct it. Constructing fabric formwork structures (not that I am talking about the actual formwork and not the concrete) can be about creating simple means and simple formwork-tectonic principles and then testing them against the concrete pour.
[Volume, plastic concrete, 1967. I think this piece must consist of concrete elements and not inflatable rubber but who knows... A contemporary version of this can be seen in Andrew Kudless' Seed P_Ball]

So—I love Englund’s playful focus on tectonic structures that combine various materials and levels of control and deformation. They are structures in space and they have themselves an inner space with degrees of materiality, transparency and rigidity. - do go explore sketches, prototypes and art pieces at Englund's extensive website.

[Pars pro toto, polycarbonate, 1979. Via]
Thanks again to my NYC formworks friend Josh Draper for the link to your Swedish dobbeltgänger.


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