The curving bronze and wire forms constantly redefine their relationship to space as the work revolves on its base. The seemingly fluid wire surfaces generate and enclose the axial structure, forming, according to Gabo, “the organic skin of an imaginary organism.” Beginning in the 1910s, as Russian artists sought to use abstract forms to explore new aesthetic concepts, Gabo became particularly interested in mathematical systems, and conceived a style of art endowed with kineticism and based on the relationship between space and time. His resulting work, characterized by geometric, abstract metal surfaces, embodies the artist’s conviction that everything is possible and real in art—that art does not represent the world, but rather captures the artist’s vision in absolute forms. Gabo made several versions of this construction and of a related work, Vertical Construction No. 1, during the 1960s, changing the dimensions of each variation but retaining the titles. The nickname “The Waterfall” is not part of the work’s original title, but became associated with it sometime before it came to the Mead (in 1991).
Written by Katherine Eisen ’12
Russian Art Intern, Fall 2009