Çatal Hüyük (level VI B) Shrine VI B.1

Çatal Hüyük (level VI B) Shrine VI B.1

2001

Frank Stella

(American, b. 1936)

Aluminum pipe and cast aluminum

Overall: 246.3 x 322.4 x 231 cm (96 15/16 x 126 15/16 x 90 15/16 in.)

Gift of Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro and John L. Severance Fund 2001.126

Fun Fact

This object weighs 1,715 pounds and projects eight feet from the wall.

Description

This work derives its title from the religious shrines uncovered at the excavation site of the neolithic town of Çatal Hüyük (around 6000 BC) in modern-day Turkey. The paintings on plaster discovered in these shrines are considered to be the earliest on man-made surfaces. Indeed, Stella's abstract sculpture evokes the animal and hunting scenes found there. Constructed of cast, welded, and bolted aluminum, it also evokes modern industrial imagery. Although it explodes with energy, Çatal Hüyük contains its power within a unified composition. The swirling aluminum pipe at its core recalls the Golden Spiral, a unit of measure in nature and mathematics that visually resembles the cross section of a snail's shell. Since the late 1950s, Frank Stella has renewed and challenged the contemporary art world by investigating opposites—flatness and depth, simplicity and complexity, painting and sculpture—in his art. In the 1970s and 1980s, he introduced three-dimensional paintings on shaped canvases and then wall constructions on painted metal (see 1991.29). This work represents the latest stage in his explorations—huge, multipart compositions that hang on the wall but project ever further into the viewer's space.

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