10 Contemporary Sculptors You Should Know
By Hebe Adventures

Although neglected for the essential painting or for other more fashionable mediums such as installation, sculpture is nonetheless very present in the contemporary artistic landscape. Focus on 10 contemporary sculptors to know.

Jaume Plensa

Contemporary Spanish sculptor, Jaume Plensa, is exhibited in many international museums. Winner of prestigious awards such as the Velazquez Prize, Plensa also teaches at the Beaux-Arts in Paris and the Chicago School of Art. A large part of his work translates into sculptures in the public space, very large human faces and silhouettes, all in transparency and cutouts.

Jeff Koons

A former Wall Street trader, Jeff Koons is one of the most controversial figures in contemporary art. The reason ? He does not do any work himself. Indeed, he has a team of more than 100 assistants based in Chelsea, near New York, who carry out the bespoke designs of the “creative genius”. Despite the debate he arouses, Koons remains one of the most expensive and famous contemporary sculptors of his generation.

Robert Gober

This American visual artist plays with the notion of everyday objects. Sometimes disturbing, his sculptures divert these usual objects that surround us: a leg sticking out of a wall, a breast stool... The artist places the body at the center of his reflection and his aesthetic research.

Anthony Gormley

Also fascinated by the body and its relationship with space and time, the British sculptor Antony Gormley even uses his to make molds. In particular, he creates works made up of cubes, geometric silhouettes that can be found at the gallery that represents him, Thaddaeus Ropac.

paige bradley

The American sculptor Paige Bradley is a specialist in human representation in bronze. She is notably the author of a well-known work, Expansion , representing a woman in a suit, with light emanating from her cracked body.

Damien Hirst

The enfant terrible of British art made a name for himself in the 1990s with his famous shark preserved in a tank of formaldehyde. His practice revolves largely around installation and monumental sculptures, often strange, sometimes very controversial.

Thomas Schütte

This German artist and sculptor was a pupil of Gerhard Richter, a famous painter, whose work and thought would greatly influence him. He is considered one of the main initiators of the new German sculpture, since the 80s.

Louise Bourgeois

French visual artist and sculptor, naturalized American, who died in 2010, Louise Bourgeois is famous throughout the world for her gigantic spiders. Disseminated in several cities, these spiders symbolize his mother. The theme of family and childhood memories is very present in his work.

Paul McCarty

This American visual artist and sculptor is best known for his works that caused a scandal. Provocative and disproportionate, his sculptures, imposed on the public space, provoke the anger of local residents. This was particularly the case with Tree, based in Place Vendôme in Paris.

Joana Vasconcelos

This Portuguese artist and sculptor creates monumental works, often made up of everyday objects: pots, fabrics, mirrors, tampons… Through her creations, Joana Vasconcelos questions the place of women in a resolutely masculine society. Result ? A feminist and committed work.

What is the difference between a standing sculpture and a statue?

A freestanding sculpture is a free-standing object that you can see and admire from any angle. A viewer walks around a freestanding sculpture or turns it in their hand, depending on the size of the sculpture.

A statue fits this definition and can be described as both a statue and a freestanding sculpture. However, not all freestanding sculptures are statues, as they may represent different themes or objects beyond the narrower definition of a statue.

What is a relief sculpture?

Relief carvings are often seen in classical architecture and are two-dimensional in nature. A relief is a part of a wall with sculpted elements but remains attached to the solid wall, column, ceiling or other background of the same material.

The Parthenon frieze for the Acropolis in Athens is perhaps the best-known example of relief sculpture. Donatello's "Herod's Feast" is an excellent example of a bronze relief that was cast rather than carved.

Relief sculpture is less common in modern and contemporary architecture, but 3D wall sculpture has replaced relief sculpture as a modern interpretation of a wall sculpture. David Kracov's work is a prime example of the evolution from classic relief sculpture to contemporary 3D wall sculpture.

Buy and collect original sculptures

While we typically see sculptures in public places, they can also be collected and exhibited privately. Not all sculptures are as tall as Mount Rushmore ! You can explore original sculptures and contemporary statues in galleries around the world.

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