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RAE 2008

Rearch Assessment Exercise 2008

Brian Falconbridge

Brian Falconbridge has visited East-Asia regularly since 1989 and has a strong interest in the cross-cultural in relation to Euro-Asian studies, notably as contained within Japanese visual culture, thought and poetry. This appreciation informs both his own research and supervision within fine art practice and the challenges implicit within the discipline and priorities of the sculptural object in contemporary contexts.
Works by Falconbridge research and propose associations between the continuing western European metaphysical tradition (historically most often carried in paintings such as the work of Zurbaran, de Chirico and Morandi) and aspects of embedded Japanese thought and aesthetics associated with modesty of material and isolation (as encapsulated in the concept of "wabi-sabi"), economy of scale including "hakoniwa" (the world in miniature).

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Research Outcomes

Outcome 1 - London Underground and London Underground/Taipei
The Falconbridge works exhibited in this two-phase group exhibition comprised 8 bronze sculptures and one installation of 100 works on paper with part of the research intention being to compare and contrast the presentation of the visual language as contained within the repertoire of forms in a 3 dimensional composition with the same language as presented - and developed - within the format of brush and ink drawing on paper.
The bronze sculptures explore smallness of scale including extremes of scale within the object, the architectural and the tradition of still-life painting. The drawings research the repertoire of form and shape within the sculpture while exploring painterly qualities and ambiguity.


Outcome 2 - Scultura Internazionale Ad Aglie
The Falconbridge work in this exhibition, "Still Life with Lemon and Eight Objects of Geometrical Desire", develops established themes of European metaphysical still-life painting into sculpture. In this respect, it forms part of Falconbridge's ongoing research commitment of imagery transposed into an essentially frontally viewed three-dimensional form. This sculpture thus extends beyond the confines of Falconbridge’s established small bronze work and addresses the challenges of a larger scale presentation and the sculptural opportunities implicit in the use of a change of material, to be seen in conjunction with the quality of interior space and residual historic d├ęcor within the Castello di Aglie.


Outcome 3 - Manufactured in the UK
The Falconbridge sculptures in this exhibition form a mini-survey of sculptural output over the previous decade. All the pieces are small in scale - mostly no more than 15cms in height. All works should be seen as works in their own right, cast as unique objects (i.e. not editioned) and as the size they are - and not as maquettes.
This emphasis on small scale reflects Falconbridge's interest in, and attachment to, a Japanese sense of completeness within a reduced scale - sometimes referred to in Japanese culture as "hakoniwa" - the world in miniature. This survey demonstrates a shift in research themes away from more explicit reference to historical still-life depiction to a more architectural depiction with layers of forms exploring scale, and balanced asymmetry.


Outcome 4 - The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
The two Falconbridge sculptures in this exhibition are both small-scale, unique casts. Research questions consider the Western European tradition of metaphysical still life painting and Constructivist sculpture extended into 3-D via the medium of patinated bronze.
The work(s) also consider the fusion of implications of the monumental and the architectural along with internal presentations of extremes of scale - within the small scale. These works seek to research the cross-cultural with particular regard to aspects of Japanese thought and visual culture, particularly including haiku (poetry), netsuke (small sculptures carried or worn with traditional kimonos), and hakoniwa ('the world in miniature') along with an appreciation of the Japanese sense of understatement, implication and the contemplative.


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