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César

(1921—1998)


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(b Marseilles, 1 Jan. 1921; d Paris, 6 Jan. 1998).

French sculptor and experimental artist. His work was highly varied, but he became best known for his ingenious use of scrap material. In the mid-1950s he began to make sculptures from material that he found in refuse dumps—scrap iron, springs, tin cans, etc.—building these up with wire into strange winged or insect-like creatures. These had closer affinities, however, with the insect-creatures of Germaine Richier than with the California school of Junk sculpture. In 1960 he began making works consisting of car bodies crushed with a hydraulic press into dense packages (he called sculptures in this genre Compressions) and it is on these that his international reputation is mainly based (The Yellow Buick, 1961, MoMA, New York). In 1965 he began working with plastics, and in 1967, as a counterpart to his Compressions, he began making Expansions, using plastics that expand rapidly and quickly solidify; sometimes he made such works in public as a kind of happening.

Subjects: Art.


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