The astonishing life of artist Richard Artschwager found him studying microbiology, prosecuting war criminals, making furniture and carving out a wholly unique art career. Although he studied under Amédée Ozenfant, a cubist painter, he might never have become an artist had it not been for a ruinous fire at his cabinet-making studio.
His commercial career as a producer of furniture led him to create sculptures and multiples that explored… Read more
About the artwork
Made from solid wood instead of paper pages, Artschwager's Bookends refuse to function as books. Designed not to be opened, read or learnt from, these volumes remain resolutely closed, silently stacked. Similarly, they do not act as bookends as they hold no tomes. The piece as a whole denies our attempt to pigeonhole it and prompts us to reassess our initial interpretation, and as such perfectly illustrates one of Artschwager's key artistic strategies. Frequently presenting the viewer with objects stripped of their original purpose, the artist decontextualizes everyday items to emphasize their objecthood, encouraging us to judge things not by their function, but by their physical, sculptural form.