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Mark di Suvero

American Sculptor

Mark di Suvero Photo
Movement: Modern Sculpture

Born: September 18, 1933 - Shanghai, China

"I'm a constructivist... symbolical constructs - like language, like mathematics, like art - are the things that change people's minds. They are where we grow."

Mark di Suvero Signature

Summary of Mark di Suvero

Mark di Suvero's work is the epitome of modern sculpture, which consists of unconventional materials, forms, and approaches. Assembling his works from wood and steel, he created what he referred to as "sculptural structuralism." These three-dimensional constructions were structures that consisted of angled beams intersecting others, sometimes with spiral elements. Such "gestures-in-space" were related to two-dimensional Abstract Expressionist gestural abstraction and Action Painting - a period of art-making that immediately preceded the artist's most creative period. As di Suvero's worked developed, it became more architectural and often became, or was commissioned as, public sculptures.

Key Ideas

Because di Suvero's works consist of built elements, they also incorporate "space" into the composition - that is, that the empty spaces that are formed by the elements of sculpture become a component of the sculpture itself. The space he creates, because it exists within architectural elements, maintains its human, true-to-life, relatable scale.
Di Suvero's works are important to the development of modern sculpture through his tendency to include kinetic - or moving - elements in them. The moving elements, while heavy because of their industrial materials, are meant to give the illusion of ease and suspending gravity.
Often visually off-balance and asymmetrical, Di Suvero's works lend themselves to the idea that they are "drawings in space" and related to the gestural abstraction that became prevalent during the mid-20th century.
Mark di Suvero Photo

Marco Polo di Suvero was born on September 18, 1933 in Shanghai, China, one of four children of Matilde Millo and Vittorio di Suvero, an Italian naval attache. Although the family had been relocated to Tientsin in 1936, with the outbreak of World War II, they immigrated to the United States. By February 1941 they had settled in San Francisco where the artist grew up. Di Suvero attended San Francisco City College before transferring to the University of California, Santa Barbara (1954-55), and ultimately receiving a degree in philosophy from Berkeley.

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