Shouldn’t Free Standing Sculptures Actually Stand on Their Own?

free standing sculptures

Free Standing Sculpture 1
won’t stand on it’s own! Note the two bricks required to keep it standing

My philosophy of sculptures includes the belief that free standing sculptures should stand on their own. But not all sculptors think this way. The sculpture to the right is an example of a poorly planned sculpture. It won’t stand on its own outside for more than a half hour unless the wind is totally calm and you have it perfectly balanced on very flat ground. Inside, you could lean it in a corner or against a wall. There are no holes in the base to secure it to something wide and heavy. I finally had to weight the base down with two bricks to make it stay upright. But it’s still precarious. We keep it near the building to protect it from the wind.

Clearly this sculptor, and he confirmed this, is only thinking about his hourly rate and is trying to make sculptures as quickly as possible, so that he can sell them as cheaply as possible because his customer base has informed him that that is what they want: cheap sculptures. Therefore, he really doesn’t have the time to be original, or think about the engineering of the sculpture.

Free Standing Sculptures: part 2

free standing sculptures

Free Standing Sculpture 2
won’t stand on it’s own! Note the two 2x4s required to keep it standing

Here’s another example of this sculptor’s work. He drove a fairly long distance to bring these two sculptures to our gallery. They looked interesting in the photos and they actually stood up for a while after he placed them on our lawn. This sculpture, to the right, has holes in the base so I initially stabilized it with long pieces of rebar hammered through the holes. That worked for about a month. Now I am trying these three 2x4s to keep it upright. That seems to be working.

My desire is that my sculptures stand well on their own. I always make the base heavier than the sculpture. I avoid top-heavy structures. I am aware of how easily high winds or vandals can tip over an unsecured sculpture, or how easily a sculpture can be stolen. I always put holes in the base (either visible or hidden) for securing the sculpture to a concrete pad, stone blocks or similar.

Of course, not all sculptures are designed to stand on their own. Some are designed to sit on something or lie on something or hang from something. But if the purpose of a sculpture is to be standing, IMHO then a proper base should be included with the free standing sculptures.

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One comment on “Shouldn’t Free Standing Sculptures Actually Stand on Their Own?

  1. Paulette Sorrells

    I agree completely. Excellent article.