100 x 25 x 10 cm (39 3/8 x 9 7/8 x 4 in.)
Schlemmer’s architectural sculpture reliefs are of particular significance for the early development of his work because they complete the step from the spatial illusion in painting to true sculpture, not without transferring Schlemmer’s principles of design to the three-dimensional realm. In 1919, in the same year, Schlemmer also developed a pronounced interest in movement in space, and thus in dance, the foundation of which provides the tectonic laws of his human figures.
The author of the catalogue raisonné of Oskar Schlemmer, Karin von Maur, described the Architectural Sculpture R so accurately that her description is not only paraphrased here, but is instead reproduced in its entirety: ”With Schlemmer, the series of reliefs of 1919 reached its zenith in Architectural Sculpture R, with which he abandoned not only polychromy, but also for the most part the confinement to surface. On the vertical axis of a slim vertical rectangle, a figure of a boy turned to the right, the slender outlines of which have been reduced to elementary geometric elements of form. Their proportions result in a tectonic system of cubic, rectangular fields, offset against one another on both sides of the dividing and connecting longitudinal axis. The surface is tiered into the depths and superelevated on several levels as a result of the rhythmic alternation of concave and convex sections. This results in a both clear and differentiated structure of box-like hollow forms, cut in contours, sharp-edged burrs and modelled curvatures. Instead of colour, light assumes the function of the activating placing of accents: depending upon the lighting, pronounced and alternating contrasts of illuminated and shaded elements are created, which contribute to the spatial sculpture design as a dynamic element. Despite its prominent inner structure, in which the consistent unit of measurement is made transparent, figure and construct merge to form a harmonious whole. A symbol was created for the human being as the measure of art and of a new architecture. Thus, what Schlemmer said at the time about his paintings applies word for word to Architectural Sculpture R: “That they have an impact beyond the frame, in order to ‘become part of the larger area, of the space larger than themselves, thus part of a conceived, desired architecture, is condensed in them, pressed together into something small, which would be the form and law of their environment. In this sense: tablets of the law.’”
Oskar Schlemmer • Bauplastik R