The formal language of lines and planes, superseding the language of volume and mass, substituting for the bump and hollow of traditional sculpture – this was the fabulous legacy of cubism to twentieth-century sculpture.
Michael Buzacott is one of the more inventive and idiosyncratic contemporary sculptors who continue to work in this tradition. His work has kept the language of cubism exceptionally fresh and vital.
While the basis of Buzacott’s constructions is freewheeling and abstract, there is ultimately a figurative rationale to his work. This survey exhibition reveals how the playful, speculative formalism of post-Caro sculpture can be reconciled with an insistently representational bias.
When André Lhote recoiled in dismay from the abstraction of Picasso’s and Braque’s cubist paintings in 1919, he protested at what he called their ‘leveling of pictorial motifs’:‘Going from one suppression to another, they have eliminated the portrait, the nude and the landscape,’ he wrote. A full century later, we can be bemused and impressed by Buzacott’s restitution of those genres.
Michael Buzacott, Beside The River 2013, steel, 102 x 77 x 14 cm. Courtesy the artist and Defiance Gallery, Sydney