Carel Visser

(b. 1928)

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(1928– )

Dutch sculptor and printmaker, born in Papendrecht, near Rotterdam. For much of his career he has worked principally in iron, initially making animals and insects under the influence of González and Giacometti. In the mid-1950s he moved into a more Constructivist phase, introducing a highly symmetrical and methodical structure. In the 1960s he made sculptures which involved the cutting and welding of iron pieces. Hanging (1966, Tate) is a typical example. Here, a bar has been cut in two halves: one has been left intact, the other has been cut into eight pieces, sliced like a sausage. Rewelded, it hangs over the edge of the base held only by a thin weld to the uncut piece. This preoccupation with weight, balance, and material brought Visser close to Minimal art and it was during the 1970s, when his work could be compared to artists such as Andre and Serra, that Visser had his greatest international exposure. (For most of his career his reputation has been highest in his home country.) Some sculpture of the 1970s combined iron with leather or allows iron sheets to bend like slightly stiffened fabric. Visser said that he equated the cube with certainty, order, and establishment, even Calvinism, and that this was why his work attacked it. Certainly in his subsequent sculptures the insects and animals have taken over again in somewhat whimsical multimedia works with a surreal edge (Winged Umbrella, 1979, Groninger Museum, Groningen).

Further Reading

Whitechapel Art Gallery, Carel Visser (1978)

Subjects: Art.

Reference entries