Blurring the edges of what defines sculptural work
In January a new publication was brought to life: Sculptorvox, Volume 1 Geometry of Nothing. Geometry of Nothing is the first volume of a collectable publication series dedicated to the appreciation of contemporary three-dimensional art. The idea was created by Daniel Lingham, a former sculptor who felt that there was a big gap in what journals, magazines and literature had to offer sculpture lovers who are hungry for insight and inspiration. For this reason he decided to start a publication focusing on the creative processes, its methods, psyche and commitment.
In this interview Daniel revealed to us why he felt the urge to start this series and what we can expect from the upcoming 7 volumes.
What is your background?
I have a diverse background, having had many jobs and many different roles over the years. There have been two primary influences that have shaped where I am today and these stem from my academic learning and my personal choices. I made a couple of key decisions about what I wanted to do with my life, to give it some sense of value that was more personally fulfilling. Initially I studied philosophy when I went to university, but I was too young and inexperienced to fully appreciate the complexity and intellectual expanse. The concepts involved can be overwhelming and I think you need time and consideration to fully come to grips with all of it. Someone once told me that you should study something else first and when you have mastered that then you can go on to consider the philosophical aspects of what you know. I don’t know how true that is but it helped me consider what I would be more suited for at that time and I moved into computer science where I completed my degree in coding and systems architecture. The virtual world that I thought I was entering was full of creative possibilities and parallels with structural and sculptural formation. The reality was much less interesting and less tangible and, as a consequence, I soon felt soulless in a corporate environment where there was nothing to touch or feel in return for your daily endeavours. The antithesis for me was to turn to physical creativity. I learned to carve stone, left my well-paid job and became a sculptor for a number of years creating abstract work for private commission and galleries. In hindsight, I was relatively successful, selling my work quite quickly, being selected by and exhibiting in galleries. But that didn’t translate to financial security and, after a final show of my work in 2012, I decided I needed to focus on something else. I created a web design and development agency which for the past few years has focused on the arts and creative industry organisations.
How did the idea of Sculptorvox come to life?
During my time as a sculptor I searched for reading material that would feed my curiousity. At the time there was nothing in the UK that appealed to me so I subscribed to a magazine produced by the International Sculpture Center in the US. It’s a great magazine but not really in line with the sort of work, processes and ideas that I felt should or could be in a publication about sculpture. It wasn’t so much the practical processes, although they are important and of interest, but more the thought processes and creative nourishment that sit at the centre of each artistic practice that interested me. I was also curious about what other artists go through to develop their career and practice. A lot of art publishing is either about art celebrity or is academic. Neither really addresses the elements involved in the creative cycle in an accessible but thoughtful way. I thought that something should fill that void, something I would want to read. It wasn’t until a number of years later that I decided to embark on making the publication.
In the beginning I created a website and started interviewing sculptors from all over the world, transcribing, editing and putting these interviews online with images of the work and portraits of the artists. An element of that has remained in the print publication. After creating about 15 long-form interviews I felt that this type of material deserved a better, more considered platform. The web provides a transient interaction with the material. I wanted to reflect the longevity of commitment that artists invest in their practices and create something collectable, desirable, beautiful and thoughtful, that would last. That’s when I decided that a print format was the right platform.
Realising I had a huge amount of work to do to get Sculptrovox print ready, I approached Matt Gill, a senior lecturer in visual communications for fashion, and he jumped at the chance to help with the design of the publication. He had already produced his own publication, Metazine, as well as setting up Raw Print events to showcase independent magazine makers. Matt has become a pivotal part of Sculptorvox, guiding the overall aesthetic.
How did you select the theme for each volume?
I wanted each volume to have a core focus or a loose central narrative. Something that would connect the works together around an idea or theme and give each volume an identity. I also wanted to create a series that had a beginning and an end. I decided on eight volumes. The first is about creating something from nothing, as a starting point. The final volume will bring the series full circle; the theme is about endings and focuses on entropy and atrophy. I wanted the volumes inbetween to span a number of focal points that seemed to run through a lot of the works that I’d been viewing. A number of the themes are about human nature, the need to create, our built environment, visions of future possibilities and change.
Why do you only focus on sculpture?
There are already publications that cover a broad spectrum of art, including sculpture. Publications like Frieze Magazine or Aesthetica Magazine here in the UK. None focuses purely on sculpture and, in a way, Sculptorvox doesn’t either. I wanted to create a publication that ran parallel to the way a lot of contemporary artists work. They move in and out of mediums, use different methods to formulate ideas and create work that extends beyond current categorisation. I wanted to blur the edges of what defines sculptural work and look at the points where it flows into other practices, being influenced by and in turn influencing other artistic output. The Sculptor remains the central point, but my approach to expressing the methods and psyche of the artist was to include writing, photography, drawing and more.
What is sculpture for you?
For me sculpture is the notion of realising an idea that takes form and occupies space. I realise this is a very loose definition that can be applied to many things and many creative processes, which is highlighted by the resurgence of interest in a maker culture.
It is the act of making an idea a reality that doesn’t have a specific function other than communicating its own meaning, and is not a commodity.
Sculptorvox is now embarking on the second issue and is seeking new writing, essays, creative interpretation, reviews, interviews and photographic work that explores and responds to the title and theme of ‘Blood & Wire'. Check out their Call for contributions for full submission details.