Inside the Artist's Studio: Kristof Wickman in Bushwick 

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Inside Sculptor Kristof Wickman's Bushwick Studio
Inside Sculptor Kristof Wickman's Bushwick Studio Inside Sculptor Kristof Wickman's Bushwick Studio Inside Sculptor Kristof Wickman's Bushwick Studio Inside Sculptor Kristof Wickman's Bushwick Studio Inside Sculptor Kristof Wickman's Bushwick Studio Inside Sculptor Kristof Wickman's Bushwick Studio Inside Sculptor Kristof Wickman's Bushwick Studio

Inside Sculptor Kristof Wickman's Bushwick Studio

Where he was putting the finishing touches on pieces for his solo show at the Brooklyn Museum.

By Benjamin Sutton

Click to View 8 slides

In a way you're trying to make these recognizable figurative objects more abstract, right?
I guess if it starts from one object then transforming that object and adding other objects to it, if it starts to make sense in a way, if the objects start to interact with each other in a way. It's just a matter of flipping something over, or adding another element, or taking something away, to the point where I can't make literal sense of it anymore. So if it reaches a point where it does start to make sense I get bored with it.

Are there any artist's who've been especially influential for you?
Charles Ray is somebody who the more time I spend in the studio and the more work I make, the more I realize he had a huge influence on me when I was first starting to discover sculpture. Mark Manders is an artist I like a lot for his ability to make sad sculpture. I think it's really tricky to make a sculpture that makes you go "aw..." or makes you think, oh that's so sad. It's a dead cat strapped to a drum, but he has a really interesting way of doing that with his palette and with these generalized animal forms and weird contraptions.

There's definitely a very emotive quality to your work as well; in addition to the humor there are some pieces that are distinctly sad. Is that always deliberate or is it almost incidental?
It's more incidental. I wish I could capture that and do it on purpose. I felt that way about the bulletin board ("Bulletin," 2010) but it's too bright to really be an emotive piece. It's an old bulletin board that was hanging across from my old studio at Hunter and a guy left the building and took off all the notes and then I took the bulletin board into my studio and had it there for a while. Then a friend of mine photographed it in eight parts. And that's just printed out on the same scale as the actual board. I felt that was sort of sad, that it was an old idiosyncratically constructed bulletin board that was falling apart, totally covered in dust, and all the notes had been taken off—some of them had been inspirational sayings. So there's a lot of background information that makes it sad for me.

But with the pumpkin face ("Untitled," 2010), there was originally supposed to be a dog head on the other end, and there were supposed to be rods connecting the eyeballs of the two piece, and it didn't work out. But the thing I love about sculpture is that I made the piece, and then I just set it down, and the way that gravity takes objects can dictate a lot for me. It's hard to spatially imagine the way that something is gonna look until you have it. And then you can hang it from the ceiling, you can put it on the wall, you can put it upside-down, and it's like anything is fair game. It's a good way of letting it do what it wants to do, in a way. Often times I think, oh this would be really great standing upright, or laying flat, or being upside-down, and then you make it and you see it from thousands of different angles and perspectives and realize that it's better a way that you hadn't intended.

Are there any materials you're interested in exploring?
I would like to get into wood-carving. Stone is also very interesting to me. But I haven't really given either of those materials a fair shake, mostly because of the learning curve, and I can get really impatient. Although I am having those two pumpkins (points to two resin pumpkins) cast in bronze in Iowa. I'm having a few things fabricated actually: the pumpkins and then a trampoline, like a scaled down full-sized trampoline. And I'm rusting some springs upstairs on the roof in a vat of saltwater and vinegar. So the bronze pumpkins will sit on the trampoline and sag the rusty springs. That's a new thing for me, having work fabricated.

There's another piece where you put a scaled-down picnic table on top of a regular-sized picnic table; what interests you about that process of shifting scale?
I think it's to take an iconic form and change the perspective of it. With the scale shift you can re-present common things in a way that appears to be new.

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