Andrew Lendzion is an artist working from studios in the United Kingdom and France. He trained at St Martins School of Art, London, and is a contemporary sculptor. In recent years Lendzion has worked with museums, which include the British and Ashmolean. A collaboration with curators and academics has given him an insight into restoration and the experience within the museum has informed his latest work, Larger-than-life. The monumental sculptures are a contemporary interpretation of Hellenic statuary. The series offers a modern audience a provocative, polychromatic alternative to the emblematic white marble relic. The correlation between myths of Olympian deities and the present day cult of superhero narrative in film, interactive media and comic books is explored. A pre-functional concern of polytheistic belief defined a statue as an idol, and in the modern era idolatry is discernible in the common psyche. In reinstating mythic and idolatry imagery to statuary, the series seeks to emphasise a vital and primal root within contemporary culture.
Q - What is Larger-than-life about ?
A - It is a sculptural response to an evident correlation between Hellenic mythologies and the cult of superheroes in the present.
Q - Where is that correlation evident ?
A - Superheroes are inherent in comics, cinema and interactive media....they deliver a revised mythology to the modern psyche.
Q - What is the relevant issue posed by the superheroes ?
A - Within the polytheism deities of ancient peoples, incarnate as superheroes, there is a perceptible primal source...so despite a secular modern culture, there is an innate desire for a heroic age....an exit from ordinary and pragmatic conventions.
Q - Is that primal need pseudo-religious in nature ?
A - Iconographic influence from ancient myth is apparent in religious imagery and the meta- narratives preempt modern ethical doctrines...the primal need refers to super-human exemplars, who, allied with a super-natural realm, return order to the natural world.....these super-humans achieve an idolatry reverence.
Q - Are the statues in your series to be viewed as idols ?
A - The sculpted idol is a primordial motif...devotional statuary was central to Hellenic religious practice...I attempt to convey the dynamic qualities of the idol concept...the platform evolves through time and cultural appropriation...so a Rock-star or Super-man fulfil the same function as Appollo or Achillies do in epic myth.
Q - How do you convey the mythology and narratives in your work ?
A - Modern appreciation of mythology is traced from ancient and oral traditions....a statue can convey a narrative through allegory and composition...I introduce unconventional elements into a classical form and interject the past with the present.
Q - How do you determine the format of your work ?
A - The Hellenic mythologies prescribe the Olympian titans as anthropomorphic and larger-than- life...so that predisposed a monumental format...a heroic scale emphasises a detachment from everyday perspective.
Q - Which imperatives do you employ in rendering your statues ?
A - A general perception of classical statuary is defined by white marble relics in museums...visual deterioration incurred over time impact on a statues primary imperative, which is communication...I render a complete iconography to maximise the gestural potential of a figurative composition.
Q - What is the impetus for using colour in your series ?
A - Colour encourages an emotive response from a viewer...ancient statuary was enhanced by poly-chrome effects...and a fragmented torso, devoid of colour is an evolved misconception of the classicl genre.
Q - Do you refer to archaeological data for colour and re-creation ?
A - Archaeological and academic insights do provide a working hypothesis. However, I focus on the stylistic qualities of Hellenic statuary and adopt a palette and composition which evolve from a personal interpretation.
Q - Is your series a stylistic re-creation of known ancient statuary ?
A- Within the series, I interpret two extant iconic statues….the Venus de Milos and the Victoire de Samothrace…the majority are new and invented renditions informed by the fusion of mythology with pseudo-historic text.
Q - What references and stimuli does the classical form offer you?
The stimuli provided by anonymous artworks in museums contradict a modern obsession with originality and instead argue for a continuum. Another issue which I explore is the marginalization of classical form and the loss of a datum for artisanal competence in contemporary art practice.
Q - Classical statues are often nude, does that provoke an erotic reading ?
A- Nudity was the uniform of a heroic ideal, and it was a way of equating with divinity…according to classical conventions, a beautiful body was the manifest of a beautiful soul, a mark of divine providence. An ancient statue could function as devotional, commemorative or votive, and an erotic component would not necessarily preclude that....and a viewer might be provoked to engage in the wider context.
Q - How does provocation interact within your work ?
A- Provocation is a potent form of communication. It is well exemplified by my rendition of Diogenes the cynic….he was an ancient Greek philosopher who utilised provocation to discourse against the dogma of his era….it is an ever present device in modern art dialogue…and used with restraint it offers an effective means to engage an audience.
Q- Is the series to be perceived as a collective of themes ?
A- The statues exemplify the anthropomorphic nature of Hellenic divinity and the format can be perceived as an installation….a theatrical set accentuating generic human traits personified by a Larger-than-life cast.