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Discovering brilliant sculptors

100 Sculptors of Tomorrow by Kurt Beers, Thames & Hudson, US $60.00, Pp 288, September 2019, ISBN 978-0500021477

The sculpture is one of the oldest forms of art. It is re-emerging as the favored medium of art in recent times. Sculptors are doing new experiments with the medium in the digital age. In every corner of the world, young and old sculptors are experimenting with the medium and producing great sculpture. But the problem is most of them remain undiscovered. Unless you are working in the developed world, you are likely to remain hidden from the rest of the world, no matter how talented you are as a sculptor. But, then, it is not easy even for those who live in North America or Europe to become known to a wider world. Kurt Beers, the director of prestigious Beers London Gallery, has gathered 100 modern sculptors, chosen out of more than 1000 entries, by a jury in 100 Sculptors of Tomorrow with his commentaries. With some 330 illustrations, 100 Sculptors of Tomorrow is the second publication in what he had always hoped would become a legacy of contemporary art books for artists, students, critics, collectors and the general public. The first book, 100 Painter of Tomorrow (2014).

Kurt Beers says that his goal is not to celebrate established artists. He writes, “In truth, we tried to shy away from artists with too-established careers; there are a few in this book who are just on the cusp of being ineligible for inclusion, but there are also many artists who are relatively unknown. If the first book is a testament to anything, it is that inclusion can open a multitude of avenues for emerging, under-recognized artists who are doing amazing things.” With three collectives, fifty-nine male, thirty female, and three non-binary artists were born in thirty-eight different countries and are working in over thirty countries. These sculptors represent an astoundingly diverse range of artistic backgrounds, styles and approaches. Kurt Beers says that his aim is not only to catalog some of the most notable emerging sculptors working across the world today, but also to question the very nature of what sculpture can be.

100 Sculptors of Tomorrow includes work in a near-endless variety of materials, from more traditional clay, paint and wood to left-field mediums such as electricity. Kurt Beers says that a few new overriding trends have emerged. Technology communication and ecology are recurrent threads throughout the book. The art of the found object is alive and well — though transformed,  using methods previously unexplored: Samara freezes hers in resin encasements, Jack Lavender presents them in twig-like structural framing devices and Leif Low-Beer created room-filling installations that look like drawings in space. Kurt Beers shows that for Emanuel Tovar and Donna Huanca, performances are sculptures in motion, the physical remnants of which are displayed as a maker of what happened there. These performances leave irreversible scars upon both imagined and real environments. Some of the sculptors are ecologists. They include Rachel Champion and Rachel Pimm. Ceramics and textiles abound, but the artists who work in these media across such a spectrum of themes and concerns that to group them together seems almost moot. They are Eric Croes and Pepe Mar.

Kurt Beers says that sculpture offers us something tangible, physical and material — a way, perhaps, of figuring out how to situate ourselves in a greater context. 100 Sculptors of Tomorrow responds to the artists’ environment, both built and natural. It is not just about creating something for a plinth, but about questioning and reshaping sculpture as a discipline, and rethinking precisely what we — as viewers — have come to expect a sculptor to make.

100 Sculptors of Tomorrow is an illuminating book that focuses on modern sculpture. It shows how the digital age is reshaping sculpture. It is a superb and inclusive collection of sculptors of truly global dimensions with sumptuous reproductions. It synthesizes artistic and historical themes. 100 Sculptors of Tomorrow will go a long way to contextualize modern sculpture within other arts. 100 Sculptors of Tomorrow has a dazzling future in the world of arts. It introduces undiscovered but brilliant sculptors to us. It is a necessary read for the students and experts of sculpture and arts.

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