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Image of This and This and This by Eva Rothschild
Eva Rothschild, This and This and This. Photo © Marc Atkins www.marcatkins.com

Eva Rothschild

Work exhibited: This and This and This.

This and This and This is a sculpture that comes in sections, separate parts whose geometrical simplicity makes them seemingly self sufficient, were it not that the colour running along the inside of each triangular section divides them into pairs. The black running along the outside joins them all up, like the drawing of one continuous line, taking the measure of invisible boundaries in space by ricocheting between them at calculable but visually startling angles.

The cool geometrical balance that keeps the ensemble poised in the air is animated by opposing primary colours, by the transmission of pigment energy. The contrast between the inertia and stillness of the sculptural form and the liveliness of the palette makes it possible to imagine the one succumbing to the other, with the equilibrium of the whole being exchanged for new and experimental combinations of its parts. This is in fact the scenario explored in Rothschild’s film Boys and Sculpture, 2012, in which a group of young boys is allowed to ‘rearrange’ an exhibition of the artist’s works.

The title of This and This and This is a chain of identical elements that one feels could be extended indefinitely. And ‘this’ is closer to hand than ‘that’, offering scope for the imagination to take hold of the work and dispose it according to a different logic.

The title also says that the work is what it is, and is nothing else – but this is not strictly true, since its pyramidal outline and architectural scale make it echo against certain habitable and monumental spaces and the symbolic imagery associated with them. ‘This’ sculpture might be here and now, but it is also there, in among our sculptural and architectural acquaintances of similar shape and suggestiveness.

Pyramidal structures recall both the most durable of monuments and the most makeshift of shelters, both the labour intensive sepulchre of ancient Egypt and the impromptu wigwam. Rothschild’s machined aluminium and steel framework supports both these alternatives; it has the formal certainty of a permanent archetype as well as the practical simplicity of temporary scaffolding; it is a portable idea. Or rather, the important point is that it does not come to a standstill in material form, but uses form to activate more than one idea at a time.

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