Ursula von Rydingsvard MMoCA Collects

Krasavica

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Ursula von Rydingsvard, Krasavica, cedar and graphite, 1992-93.
Ursula von Rydingsvard. Photograph by John Townsend. Courtesy of the artist.

Krrasavica—Slovak for "beauty"—takes the shape of five adjacent vessel-like structures that are propped against a wall. It is a massive sculpture that dwarfs the viewer. It has the ruggedness of cut rock but is actually milled cedar wood that the sculptor has carved. Inspired by the elemental shapes of a pair of cast-iron Japanese stirrups Ursula von Rydingsvard saw at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, she created a series of bowl shapes that put our imaginations into action. Although they are essentially abstract forms, they evoke many associations, often contradictory. They may be objects of some sort, but in their rocky wood-like identity they bring mountains, hills, and valleys to mind. Landscape is an important theme in the artist's work. But her shapes could also be dancing figures shrouded in voluminous drapes of cloth. If made by human hands, they also seem very natural, as though they produced themselves. The work of art transforms itself as we look and think about it. Its impact is primal, an inscrutable thing from deep time.