Listen as curator Tina Oldknow, describes “Black Cube” by Czech artist Marian Karel. The artist uses light, glass, and geometric forms to make illusionistic sculptures that challenge the viewer’s perceptions of space.
“Black Cube” is so dark and reflective that it is almost invisible; it appears to lack substance, like a shadow. Yet its slightly bulging sides reveal an energy contained within. In Karel’s drawing of the piece, the energy inside the sculpture is created by spheres and squares that act as an internal dynamo. This theoretical energy source pushes the walls of the cube outward, creating the bulging sides and the distortion of the reflective surface.
This sculpture illustrates a Czech principle about abstraction. The Czechs say that abstraction in art is like an egg: the geometric shape on the outside is enlivened by the warm life inside of it; all abstract sculpture must have an inner life, an inner energy, to give it meaning.