May the hidden wounds be healed by Grace
▲ Work Description: David Smith, 1964, stainless steel welding, 2864 x 1480 x 1016mm Tate Gallery

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No. 249/ Views in Art

David Smith is an American sculptor who gained worldwide fame for introducing the welding technique. Smith’s welded sculptures were always the subject of attention, as most of the sculptures were cast in bronze before World War II. Unlike bronze sculpture, welding can change the shape of a work at any time, allowing improvised and accidental expression. It also showed various metallic natures such as molten surface and shape edges by welding. In the 1960s, Smith created a series of Cubis that welded geometric shapes and grinded surfaces, most of which looked unstable because the top was too large, the figures were also barely attached, and the surface looked like it had been scratched. With such an appearance, it was difficult for the audience to readily approach Smith’s work. Scholars then began to study what his life was like, looking for the background of the aggression and anxiety behind his splendid fame. The inner wounds that Smith suffered as a child seemed to have disappeared as an adult, but they reappeared in the work.

The expression of childhood wounds in a wrong place is often recorded in the Bible. Discrimination and favoritism, especially within the family, inflict indelible wounds on children. Jephthah, as a son of harlot, had been insulted and discriminated against his family. When he became a judge, he slaughtered 42,000 people at the words of the men of Ephraim why he did not call them to go to war with him. It was a quite different from Gideon’s reaction, who overcame the crisis by saying, ‘Didn’t Ephraim accomplish something greater than this?’ When I see Smith’s aggressive and precarious sculptures, I feel pity that it could be a manifestation of his unhealed childhood wounds. Also I think about our next generation. The Bible tells us not to provoke our children and makes us know again that the only way to heal hidden inner wounds is through the grace of the Cross. [Gospel Prayer News]

Art Critic Sang-yoon Lee

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