“The head is the most important part of the figure,
The body and the legs are less weighty
Active hands are emphasized, like speaking mouths
Quantity is used to emphasize intensity.
Inactive, unimportant or uninteresting parts are only indicated or neglected.
There are even figures without bodies.
You will find without my explanation in which direction our inte rest is led,
where our attention is absorbed…”
These lines from Josef Albers refer to a series of slides of Mexican pre-Columbian sculptures he showed during a lecture entitled “Truthfulness in Art”. The audience in the dimly lit room at Harvard in 1940 was able to see the pictures he described. Today, the reader of the transcript can only meet them in his imagin nation. There’s an idea to be found in many theories about the origin of sculpture suggesting that the first creation of representations was triggered by mental images or by the perception of accidents, of natural origin or produced by nonionic human traces. This “fortuitous realism” could be then attributed to a faculty of projection, associated with a better-understood faculty of feature recognition (i.e. the ability to recognize an object from visual clues). Some researchers like the rock expert Robert G. Bednarik have come to say this process has its origin on the inherent ambiguity of visual perception or what he calls “imaginative perception”. What is the starting point of a sculpture? How do you represent something you haven’t yet seen?