BRUCE NAIGLES I SCULPTOR
About the project:
Real eyes realize real lies
A very righteous rabbi was taken, first, to purgatory where he was faced with the most tortured beings he imagined could exist. Their screams filled the air, but as he drew closer, he saw to his surprise that they were seated at the most sumptuous and elaborate banquet table. It was set with silver and fine china, every dish laden with the most wonderful food. He simply could not understand why these creatures should be suffering so. Upon closer inspection he noticed that their elbows were all inverted, thus preventing them from bringing the food and drink to their mouths...
Next, the rabbi was taken to paradise. Before seeing anything, he heard laughter and sensed an atmosphere of joy and celebration. Coming closer, he found himself staring at precisely the same scenario; the people sitting at a lavish table, piled with the very same dishes and delicacies. Everything was identical, including the inverted elbows, except one detail - each person was feeding the next.'
A story based upon the perils of human frailty and indifference, it reveals a hope that lies within the human intelligence and spirit. Its social, economic and political significance, as a sculpture, lies in the potential of creating a reactionary point as well as a source for reflection and inspiration towards finding working solutions.
This vision draws a compelling allegory and bears an uncanny resemblance to the world we live in. It challenges us at once to take a broader and deeper, ethical and moral view of our values and interactions with one another. It lends itself to reflection on something larger than our individual needs and concerns, something reflecting the pressure of mankind's struggles within itself.
The model is composed of two families, each with a mother and father, son and daughter. They are arranged in a circle facing outward from one another. I have chosen the theme of family, since it's here these values generally originate, particularly when we view society(s) as families. I have used the circle to emphasize the reality that we live in the same 'world', and in this manner it is our decision that distinguishes our fates individually and collectively.
The sculpture is unique in its conceptual origin and original in its sculptural interpretation/composition. The complexity of 8 figures (16 arms, 80 fingers) presents a compositional challenge similar to a musical symphony, whereby all the elements must work together in a rhythmic and visual harmony, much like the various instruments do in time and tonality.
The key to the whole drama is the daughter of the ‘wicked’ family. The mother of the family in paradise is offering her food. It bewilders her and she's left wondering by it. With time, she too begins to understand and attempts to offer food to her own mother, who, unlike herself, cannot see it; it doesn't enter her consciousness.
The girl is Hope, the desire and will to change. Her predicament is not a final destination. In this case, the unity of the circle breaks the manipulative myth of eternal damnation.
On the other side of the circle, the ring is broken. It connects, once again, only by the outstretched arm of the father reaching out and supporting the son of the 'wicked' family. The boy has been pushed out by his own father's needs and appears to be hovering over an abyss.
There are many sculptures expressing man's sufferings and aspirations, and there are many representing a symbolic, metaphorical answer. There are few, if any, which present the root of the problem together with a clear solution in such a poignant and simple manner. With time, I have come to realize that the inverted elbows are essentially a metaphor of our limitations and the pain we all bear. Though we carry both 'worlds' within us, ultimately we all have a choice.
The intention here is not to frighten the young with terrors and nightmares, nor that a sculpture will change the world, but rather a focus on the potentials of what can be unleashed; either by our unity or by our ignorance and disbelief. I believe such imagery carries a potential to forge a shift, a return, to our understanding of ourselves. It also contributes to a momentous renaissance of traditional sculpture as an art force of social change. Plainly put, considering the challenges we face today, it is urgently needed.
The plan is to realize a full-size bronze sculpture, mounted to a ring-shaped stone base, with the story engraved in the stone or creatively displayed on the premises.
The estimated timeline for the project's completion is 30-36 months, once funding is secured. The four basic stages to completion are as follows:
1. A model in 1/2 natural size is created, including studies and sketches, will require approximately 6 months. At this stage, compositional issues as well as details of the figures and other elements need to be resolved before venturing on with the full size sculpture.
2. Realizing the sculpture in full size, from steel armature to modeling in clay and eventually casting in plaster will then take approximately 18-24 months.
3. Bronze casting we can estimate at 6 months.
4. The stone base and placement site can be prepared during this time, concluding with the final mounting of the monument.