FRESHLY MODELLED– Rings, chains, brooches

Monica Gaspar – ABECEDARIUM 2012

Here is the challenge: Do whatever it takes – modelling, carving, or casting – to create a non-form. And while you are at it, make it look unpremeditated and accidental, something between a found object and a leftover. So how do you model nothing? This is the puzzle Peter Bauhuis set out to solve with his work Freshly Modelled (2007). This was not about random experimentation. It was a calculated effort to explore the frontier between form and its absence. This is where Bauhuis’ quest to model non-forms stands apart from Robert Morris’ anti-forms. In 1968, Morris, one of the leading figures of minimalist art, defined the anti-form as ‘the art object resulting from the unpremeditated by-product of process that defies being set up the same way twice.’ Although Bauhuis would probably be unable to replicate exactly any of his works even if he wished to do so, the element of randomness introduced by the process itself has clearly been factored out of the equation. He researched materials for nearly a year before achieving initial results. These forms are often described as being stone-like despite obvious traces of fingerprints on their surface. This human touch is what marks them as artificial, defeating any assumptions that they might be natural or found objects. The intense, hands-on effort he invested in developing modelling techniques to create this series of brooches, rings and necklaces influenced the London and Melbourne Seria vessels, which he created in the same period.