Standing in a far corner of the Montparnasse Cemetery marking the grave of the young suicideTania Rachevskaia is the sculpture “The Kiss” by Brancusi. A former lover of Tania, chose the work to mark her grave.
Nicholas Fox Weber, director of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, wrote of his recent visit to the gravesite and likened the simplicity of “The Kiss” to the art of Albers.
But citing Brancusi’s simplicity stops short of the artist’s point that such a thing is not an end in art. “Simplicity is complexity itself,” the artist said, alluding to what lies behind and within forms,
One of the sculptors who Brancusi influenced was Henry Moore, who acknowledged his debt this way: “Since the Gothic European sculptures had become overgrown with moss, weeds – all sorts of surface excessiveness, which completely concealed shape - it was Brancusi’s especial mission to get rid of the undergrowth and to make it once more shape-conscious.”
A good example of time rearing its game-changing head lies in the difference between Brancusi’s “The Kiss” and Rodin’s of the same title. Rodin’s version shows a forward motion of the woman, suggesting she is taking the intiative, down to draping a leg over that of her lover. In Brancusi’s rendition the simplified figures are so enmeshed that they’re practically indistinguishable.
Bent on his own path, Brancusi even refused a job as an assistant to Rodin.
And at first, few appreciated Brancusi’s work. His now celebrated “Bird in Space,” which conjures up the aerodynamic lines of an ascending jetliner before there were jetliners, was one of the first abstract sculptures of the 20th century. http://www.examiner.com/article/dueling-art-styles-and-the-winner-isEven NY Times art critic John Canaday failed to see the connection to flight, saying “the expressive quality of Brancusi’s work depends on the title.”
Brancusi seemed to anticipate Canaday’s point when he said, “Don’t look for mysteries. I give you pure joy.” 5