How soon is now - 2024: Pieter Obels

Art in Mayfair Pieter Obels
Pieter Obels, How soon is now - 2024. Presented by Opera Gallery. Location: 22 Berkeley Square

Pieter Obels' steel sculptures defy gravity, transforming humble metals into organic, weightless forms.  Working in solitude, Obels uses Corten steel, allowing natural oxidation to enhance the emotional impact of his creations.  His minimalistic approach contrasts with conceptual aesthetics, creating a contemplative dialogue between space, object, and viewer.

"I don't start off with a real plan when I embark upon a new sculpture.  My works come about spontaneously as the result of improvisation.  I transform the unyielding corten steel into graceful, whimsical sculptures.  The steel is subservient to what I want to express visually.  I make it dance and move without a set rhythm.  In the same way, you have to experience my work through your own movement: discover the sculpture from various angles and aspects. That is the way to feel the movement of the steel." Pieter Obels 2024.

Presented by: Opera Gallery, 65-66 New Bond Street, London W1S 1RW


About Pieter Obels (b. 1968)

In spite of the fact that steel is generally considered as rough and austere, Pieter Obels' sculptures seem to be controverting the intrinsic possibilities of the material.  When one looks at Richard Serra's monumental steel slabs and wonder at the curves he manages to give his material, feelings of huge weight, size and strength arise.

Pieter Obels works with Corten steel, yet what his works convey above all is light and grace as he bends the steel into extraordinarily delicate and winding shapes.  The two artistic worlds couldn't be further apart.  It is almost as if we were watching the yin and yang of the same material.

Through a clever interplay of rigidity and dynamism, Obels' work occupies a space deftly lingering between a sense of weight and weightlessness.  His sculptures completely confound our perceptions of how a steel sculpture should look like and behave.  The bends in the work appear to defy what the material can be persuaded to do.

Obels aim is to create totally organic forms with an extreme yet somehow innate sense of plasticity.  This sense of a natural rhythm makes his sculptures sit with a total oneness in any natural surroundings.  Rather than imposing themselves over where they are placed they appear to mirror the soft edges and harmoniousness often evident in nature. Notwithstanding the apparently cold material, the curves of the form and the rusty brown colour of their oxidization enable them to create a bond with the surrounding ambient.

Working alone without assistants, Obels has, however, permitted this aspect to dominate his works at the same time as he emphasized the elegiac quality that they possess.  Although totally contemporary, there is a strong wistfulness for a bygone age which favoured poetry over power and fragility and balance over industrial noise.  The sense of a precarious balance which many of his works have, play beautifully with the apparent contradiction inherent in his material.

His works echo the world we would like to inhabit: a world dominated by beauty and awareness of nature.  The curve, as opposed to the straight line, recalls a gentler, less severe universe where objects embrace and do not repel, where dialogue is always possible and agreement is always found.

Text curtesy of: Ian Rosenfeld, Rosenfeld Gallery, London UK

Website: Pieter Obels

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