TÊTE PLATE DITE « LE BAISER »
Dimensions: 25,7 x 21,3 x 5,6 cm
This is a bronze cast of Tête plâte dite “Le Baiser” (Flat head called “The Kiss”), originally carved in sandstone by Julio González in 1936. González revisits here the theme of two heads fused into a kiss.
The work takes a vertical, roughly rectangular form, with a rounded top and right side, and a protruding element at the top left. This protruding element corresponds to the base of a lop-sided T, carved in counter relief on its side at the top left of the work. This T-shape represents a face in González’s singular plastic language. He previously used this juxtaposition of a rectangular forehead perpendicular to a roughly triangular nose in works like Les Amoureux I and II (1932-1933). However, unlike these earlier works in iron, there is only one abstracted face motif here, which seems to melt into the rounded upper part of the sculpture, meant to represent a head. The reverse side of the work has been left in a coarse, unfinished state.
This work comes on the heels of a series of linear metallic sculptures executed in the first half of the 1930s, but it differs significantly from them. In the midst of this revolutionary exploration of “drawing in space” with iron rods, González also begins working on sculptures directly carved into stone, including this one. Unlike the aerial, graceful iron works, which incorporate the void as a constructive element to recreate three-dimensional volumes in space, these works in stone focus on flat, solid mass, the imbrication of geometric forms, and the interplay of light and shadow on their rough or smoother surfaces.
The form of the work recalls an ancient stele, which affords a monumental and timeless quality to this highly abstracted representation of a classical theme. Both innovative and steeped in tradition, this work speaks to the diversity and constant innovation of Julio González’s artistic practice.