Naum Gabo (1890-1977)
Property from the Estate of Thomas T. Solley
Naum Gabo (1890-1977)

Construction in Space: Suspended: Reconstruction

Naum Gabo (1890-1977)
Construction in Space: Suspended: Reconstruction
suspended perspex nylon monofilament, phospor-bronze and aluminum
Dimensions excluding base:
Height: 19 1/8 in. (48.5 cm.)
Length: 21¾ in. (55.2 cm.)
Depth: 23¾ in. (60.2 cm.)
Dimensions of base:
Length: 23 7/8 in. (60.5 cm.)
Depth: 7 3/8 in. (19.1 cm.)
Conceived in 1957; this version reconstructed in 1971
Bo Boustedt, Sweden.
Galerie Beyeler, Basel.
(possibly) Acquired from the above by the late owner.
C. Sanderson and C. Lodder, "Catalogue raisonné of the Constructions and Sculptures," in Naum Gabo, Sixty Years of Constructivism, exh. cat., Dallas Museum of Art, 1985, p. 248, no. 70.3a.

Lot Essay

During the mid-1940s, Gabo began to employ nylon filaments in his sculpture, as well as other new and improved plastics that were becoming available. This stringing technique enabled him to define space not as volume or mass, but in a linear manner, in which line functioned as direction and depth became the one form of space.

Gabo may have conceived the Construction in Space: Suspended, around 1957, based on a section in the lower part of Linear Construction in Space no. 4 (C. Sanderson and C. Lodder, no. 68.1-14), for which he had constructed a model two years earlier and was then in the process of making further versions. He produced the first version of the present sculpture as an independent work in 1965, and continued to make further variants into the 1970s, completing nineteen in all.

Gabo used wire in stringing some of the variants; in the present version, like most of the others, he employed nylon filament. "The nylon filament is reflective, so between the delicacy and openness of the stringing and the transparent and reflective materials, these works take on an intense luminosity. They are like instruments of light, as reflections play across the warping movement of their curves and project through the plastic end pieces. The stringing also creates a heightened sense of extension and duration, making palpable the element of time" (S.A. Nash, "Naum Gabo: Sculptures of Purity and Possibility," in exh. cat., op. cit., 1985, p. 38).

Bo Boustedt commissioned this work in April 1971, following irreparable damage to the original large version of Construction in Space: Suspended of 1957, which he had acquired from the artist in 1963. This version was apparently completed by May 1971, according to a letter from Boustedt. It is possible that original elements from the previous 1957 version were reused in this reconstruction.

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