Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wow! Another Large Bronze

Again a single piece of public art placed in the Piazza has started a train of thought about sculpture and public art. The piece is again  a large bronze, this time of a fantasy hunting scene.

Impressive it certainly is, the fantasy and representational  aspects of the work do not interest me much and it is only really strong in design from two viewpoints but the work interested me enough to find out more  about the artist. His name is Dashi Namdakov and he comes from a remote region of Russia called Trans Baikal an area sandwiched between Mongolia and Siberia.

He has recently become a megastar in the international art world, but unlike many over-hyped art megastars with little talent  this artist has graphic talent in bucket loads, not only does he sculpt on large and small scale he also makes jewellery, designs buildings and much more. I would be quite happy if I had one tenth of his natural talent. It is easy to see why he has become so popular, he has wow! factor – you don’t have to search his sculptures – they hit you immediately.

I have been thinking a lot recently about how most art today strives for this sort of appeal. The art audience want to walk around a gallery receiving instant hits from the art; rarely does anyone spend an hour looking at a painting or sculpture and most modern art of today would start to bore you after 5 minutes.

Art critic Robert Hughes
I recently watched a documentary by the art critic Robert Hughes called “The Mona Lisa Curse” which is essential viewing for any artist of today. I quote:

“We have had a gutful of fast art and fast food. What we need is slow art, art that grows out of modes of perception and making, whose skill and doggedness makes you think and feel. Art that isn’t merely sensational, that doesn’t get its message across in 10 seconds, that isn’t falsely iconic but art that hooks onto something deep running in our natures.”

I am not trying to belittle Namdakov’s huge talent but if I had to choose between one of his fantastic animal sculptures and Picasso’s goat sculpture, the goat would win every time.

Picasso's Goat sculpture

When it comes to line, for me Picasso is the great master of our age, when I see that film of Picasso painting and he starts with a few simple lines down the canvas the hairs on my neck stand up.

Undoubtedly Namdakov has a great graphic sense of line but for me it is often slick and sometimes even sickly and  it is not coming from the same place as it is with Picasso.

Horse by Namdakov

Bronze by Dashi Namdakov


  1. Very interesting. Namdakov certainly has lots of energy (like Picasso) and his subject matter is very contemporary - plenty of interest in the mythological. The details on the sculpture are also very good.
    I really liked the bronze Elk you put up. Does that make me a philistine?
    Robert Hughes documentary is excellent - he says a lot of tough things that need to be said - not just about art but about the arts generally. How about Slow Books and Slow Poetry?

  2. as a stone carver from italy, how can't agree with every word that says Robert Hughes!
    I have my art studio on the italian riviera and I finally see the interest back in marble
    the russians collectors again are looking for italian marble for their interiors
    being a stone carver and having a passion for alabasters, i was selling my bronzes so far
    so i trust that in a near future , 10 years marble pieces will be very rare
    i hope that I will not be too old !!!
    I created an art school at the border fo France and Italy, and I do have like in cararra, people coming from all over the world, to enjoy the traditional way of stone carving

    my albaster sculptures can been seen on