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P.H.I.P

1979
Painted steel
67.5 x 75 x 64 cm / 26 5/8 x 29 1/2 x 25 1/4 in

John Chamberlain

John Chamberlain (1927 – 2011) was a quintessentially American artist, channeling the innovative power of the postwar years into a relentlessly inventive practice spanning six decades. He first achieved renown for sculptures made in the late 1950s through 1960s from automobile parts – these were path-breaking works that effectively transformed the gestural energy of Abstract Expressionist painting into three dimensions. Chamberlain’s compositions of twisted, crushed, and forged metal also bridged the divide between Process Art and Minimalism, drawing tenets of both into a new kinship.

Embodying the inimitable energy of John Chamberlain’s sculpture, the sky blue, orange, bubble- gum and hot pink dominated ‘P.H.I.P’ (1979) evokes the influence of Abstract Expressionism as much as it reflects artist’s sense of innovation, liberation, poetic sensibility and legendary sense of humour.

P.H.I.P

A self-described collagist, Chamberlain was influenced early on by the compilation and welding methods of modernist sculptor David Smith, the spatial dynamism of Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture and the expressionist gestures of Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning. Ultimately drawn to the ‘sustained presence’ of sculpture in the round, Chamberlain’s interest in spatial dynamics led him to develop a three-dimensional form of Abstract Expressionism, wherein the energetic coloured surfaces of de Kooning’s paintings manifest in metal. [1]

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Studio Visit: John Chamberlain talks to Michael Auping

This never-before-seen archival footage of American artist John Chamberlain is from a short film recorded over two days in South Florida by two local film-makers. These interviews and conversations culminated in the exhibition and catalog organized by Michael Auping, ‘John Chamberlain: Reliefs 1960-1983’.