Considered to be one of the last major works of Antoine Pevsner, Construction spatiale aux troisième et quatrième dimensions is a complex sculpture composed of two pieces of curving and contorted bronze. Conceived in 1961, just a year before Pevsner died, this version of Construction spatiale aux troisième et quatrième dimensions was cast in 1962, and is the only one of three versions still to remain in private hands. Of the three known versions, the first, cast in 1961, is in the collection of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and the second is in the Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum, Duisbourg, in Germany.
Construction spatiale aux troisième et quatrième dimensions demonstrates Pevsner’s lifelong interest in the nature of three-dimensional, abstract sculpture, illustrating his belief that it should incorporate and interact with the notions of time and space. With his brother, Naum Gabo, Pevsner had, in 1920, issued the Realistic Manifesto, which became the theoretical basis of the Constructivist movement. In an era of immense change, when scientific discoveries ushered in a new conception of the universe and the structure of societies was being overturned by revolution and war, Gabo and Pevsner believed that art needed to exist within reality, in real space and time. For the rest of his career, Pevsner continued to explore these concepts, creating dynamic works or ‘spatial constructions’ in which mass and volume, the traditional sculptural elements, are broken down, integrated with the space surrounding the work itself.
A construction of curved planes of bronze, Construction spatiale aux troisième et quatrième dimensions is imbued with a sense of rhythmic dynamism, as if the interlocking parts weere slowly rotating and shifting as the viewer moves around the work. This sense of movement is aided by the presence of linear striations on the planes of bronze. The thin lines evoke an outward force that seems to radiate from the centre of the sculpture. Pevsner had first introduced this technique in the 1930s, as a means of imbuing the metal with a sense of lightness. The contorted shapes and the linear surface of the bronze planes lend the sculpture a sense of movement and weightlessness, transforming the physical mass of bronze into an abstract vision of curving forms.
Of the three casts, the first, cast in May 1962, is in the collection of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the third, cast in December 1962, is in the collection of the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg. The present lot is the only cast currently in private hands.