Monday, January 17, 2011

Tom Friedman

Tom Friedman, "Untitled", 1990. A partially used bar of soap inlaid with a spiral of pubic hair. Photo from Satchi Gallery.

Getting back to a method I have used before:
I scan my memory for art that I have seen a long time ago. The works that I still remember have made a strong and lasting impression. - Maybe that means that they are particularly interesting, and that you will enjoy seeing them here?

I saw Tom Friedman's sculptural work in the project room at the Museum of Modern Art in 1995, and this bar of soap was the one that fascinated me the most.

- Such a mundane object aesthetiziced by a neatly constructed spiral of pubic hair. - One of the least pleasant encounters you may have in daily life - somebody else's hair on a bar of soap - is turned into enjoyment of a beautiful little sculpture...

- Or does your gut reaction overrule the aesthetic potential?

- Can you see how there seem to be different shades of color in the hair, and how the narrowing spiral on the bar of soap creates an illusion that draws your gaze to the very core of it?

- And what about the white soap as symbol of "the pure", whereas the dark pubic hair tends to symbolize something not so pure...

Tom Friedman, "Untitled (Self-Portrait)", 1994. Carved aspirin. Photo from artnet Magazine.

This work and the next one play on our expectations of scale.

It is impressive that Friedman has managed to carve a little sculpture from an aspirin. But why such a small self portrait? ... One that we could swallow to ease a headache...

A little white sculpture on a white wall, - but still very noticeable. ... Maybe just because it is so little.

Tom Friedman, "Untitled", 1990. Bubble gum, 12,7 cm diameter. Photo from Satchi Gallery.

- Quite a large ball of gum... - Sore jaw muscles?

Look at the subtle nuances of pink color. - And that even, shiny surface...

Tom Friedman. Photo from playgrounddoor.

I cannot remember either of these last two works from the 1995 project at MoMA. They may not have been there. But they are beautiful.

The red, gold and blue in this pencil sculpture, - and the beautiful proportions... a perfect grid....

Tom Friedman, "Untitled", 1993. Plastic cups, 101,6 cm diameter. Photo from Satchi Gallery.

This circle of plastic cups looks like it has some very interesting plastic properties...