Monday, April 15, 2013

Tourists by Duane Hanson (1970)

When looking at Hanson work of art, there are some specific elements of interest that arises. First thought that hit my mind from this kind of sculpture was wax figures of famous people. I looked into some different artists that produce art incorporating wax, and there is a clear distinguishing line between the two different sculptures.

Hanson’s sculptures projects a contextual message of some sort that has a specific conveying message with relation to time. As of just regular wax sculptures in a wax museum you see emperor, pop stars, top athletes, dictators, great scientist and the list goes on, but never has it been seen that sculptures were created as a provocative message with very realistic means.

Polyester resin and cast fiberglass are the products used for constructing so powerful replicas of humans, and then adding thrift store clothing to the sculptures to make them look natural. This sculpture in specific, and the sculptures that resembles the same social norm or social class is a way for the artist to express where American consumption has taken the society to. He directed his art criticism against the American consumer society. All the sculptures from there started arising feelings of human isolation and boredom of the American middle and lower class.

Personally, I have been and seen wax figures in different cities in Europe, and I must say that it was quite fascinating, but through readings online and the whole art world’s comments on Duane Hanson; I can only sit and imagine how precisely detailed it must be. I tried getting a little closer, and thankfully YouTube has been helpful.

It is done to superb perfection, which is why our artist here is grouped under hyper realistic artists, but quite frankly I am sure it would at least 50% more realistic if these magnificent sculptures were studying with closer real life proximity.

I highly encourage you to watch Duane Hanson’s work throughout his years as an artist, and compare them to wax figures to see the difference. A sequel to the ‘Tourists’ sculpture was made by the name sculptures II (1988)


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