Developed by Larry Stephens, Middleton High School, Middleton, Wisconsin
Summary of Activity
Students will create a sculpture using found objects, plaster, and cardboard.
Students and teachers can use this activity as a means to explore basic sculpture techniques, visual story telling, metaphors, and creative problem solving.
When creating a piece of artwork, artists have to make many thoughtful decisions about the form and content of their work. What media, materials, and techniques should the artist use? Should the work be two-dimensional or three-dimensional? What is the artwork about, and what kind of experience is the artist trying to create for the viewer?
If we look closely at Jin Soo Kim's sculpture Strata, we can see that the artist has given careful consideration to all of these questions. The sculpture is composed of steel rods, gauze bandages, and an internal mechanism from an old piano—a "found object." These elements are brought together and organized into a unified composition; as a result, the sculpture becomes an engaging visual metaphor and the viewer is invited to contemplate its meaning.
Found objects can be used as elements of a "visual language" in a work of art and can provide the artist with a wide range of possibilities for creative expression.
Ask students to bring their own found objects to class. Discuss ways in which writers use imagery and metaphors in their work; encourage students to experiment and think about how their found objects might be arranged three-dimensionally to express a specific idea or emotion.
Cardboard and plaster can be used as a unifying component in the sculpture. A variety of suitable forms can be created from cardboard that is cut and glued together; the forms can be constructed so that they hold the found objects in place. When completed, the cardboard forms can be covered with a thin layer of plaster.
Tools for cutting cardboard
(materials illustrated in sample images
Language arts-creative writing, story telling, metaphor
geometry-solid forms, proportions
Jin Soo Kim, Strata, 1991, chenille bedspread, acrylic, steel, copper wire, medical plaster, bandage, and found keyboard, 100 x 26 1/2 x 13 inches. Collection of Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Purchase, through Rudolph and Louise Langer Fund. 1993.05 © Jin Soo Kim
Language arts, mathmatics, history