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Alice Aycock

1946 | Harrisburg, United States
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Alice Aycock — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

© Photo: Kristine Larsen

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American sculptress.

While a student at Hunter College in New York, Alice Aycock attended the classes of Robert Morris, whose work would leave a deep impression on her. She was part of a new generation of artists breaking away from formalism and purist abstraction, championed by the American critic Clement Greenberg. Preferring a “postmodern” approach, and influenced by the concept of “sculpture in the expanded field”, as theorized by the American critic Rosalind Krauss, she questioned the inclusion of works in the landscape and their close links with architecture. Spurred on by the land art artists, she produced her early works on a monumental scale: large enigmatic machines, often with motors, or driven by electric mechanisms.

In the early 1960s, well removed from established artistic hubs, her installations reflected about notions associated with the essence of sculpture: the solid, the void, space and time. In A Simple Network of Underground Wells and Tunnels (1975), the artist dug a series of six wells linked by tunnels, which visitors were invited to climb down into. Plunged into the darkness of the maze, she re-thought the supremacy of the visual and got visitors to undergo a “physical” experience of sculpture. Greatly influenced by Thomas Kuhn’s La Structure des révolutions scientifiques (1962), she overlapped references as varied as science, astrology, myth, cosmologies and chthonic imagination, with a liking for the figure of the labyrinth which, in her view, most powerfully incarnates “mythic and poetic thinking” (Lévi-Strauss). Involved for many years with “archaeological and mythical” concerns, through a use of “archaic” materials like wood and earth, the artist then proceeded to undertake new explorations questioning the future development of humanity.

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Claire Bickert

Translated from French by Simon Pleasance.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Alice Aycock — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Alice Aycock, Hoop-La from Park Avenue Paper Chase, 2014, powder coated aluminum and steel, 48.26 x 43.18 x 60.96 cm, 19 x 17 x 24 in., © reproduced by permission of Sotheby’s.

Alice Aycock — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Alice Aycock, Cyclone Twist from Park Avenue Paper Chase, 2013, powder coated aluminum, 822.96 x 441.96 cm, 27 x 14 1/2 feet, © reproduced by permission of Sotheby’s.

Alice Aycock — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Alice Aycock, Whirlpools, 2016, aluminum powder coated white, 196.85 x 48.26 x 35.56 cm, 77.5 x 19 x 14 in.

Alice Aycock — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Alice Aycock, Another Twister (Joãa), 2015, aluminum powder coated white (rolled aluminum supported by a galvanized steel central column), 472,44 cm, 18.6 in., © Photo: Thomas Bach for Hannover Rück SE

Alice Aycock — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Alice Aycock, Waltzing Matilda (Park Avenue Paper Chase), 2014, reinforced fiberglass, 18 x 15 x 18 in.

Alice Aycock — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Alice Aycock, Ghost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks, 2005/2007, painted steel and aluminum, neon, thermoformed acrylic shapes, approximately 213.36 x 279.4 x 157.48 cm, 84 x 110 x 62 in., © Photo: Gary Layda

Alice Aycock — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Alice Aycock, Passion/Passiflora Incarnation, 2016, powder coated aluminum, stainless steel, and concrete pool with fountain plumbing, LED lighting, sculpture: 914.4 x 914.4 cm, 30 x 30 ft., pool: 1645.92 x 1158.24 x 487.68 cm, 54 x 38 ft.

Alice Aycock — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Alice Aycock, East River Roundabout, 1995/2014, aluminum, roof installation, approximately 254 x 254 x 127 cm, 100 x 100 x 50 in., © Photo: Dave Rittinger

Alice Aycock — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Alice Aycock, Sar Sifter, 1998/2013, stainless steel, aluminum, motorized parts, high: approximately 101.6 cm, 40 in., ⌀: 40 in., © Photo: Dave Rittinger

Alice Aycock — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Alice Aycock, Two Part Project fot the San Franscico Main Library, Spiral Satin Encircling a Cone ; Suspended Cyclone Fragment, 1996, structural steel with painted steel sheathing, aluminum with structural steel pole, 81.28 x 50.8 cm, 60.96 x 55.88 cm, 32 x 20 in., 24 x 22 in.

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