21.05 - 07.08.22
Rodin’s breakout sculpture, The Age of Bronze (1876) caused a critical scandal for its extreme naturalism and ambiguous subject matter. Critics did not know how to interpret the raised arms and closed eyes. The sculpture depicts a suspended moment either of suffering or joy. Also known as The Awakening Man or The Vanquished One, the work and its different titles seem to depict an individual at a significant crossroads.
The exhibition Folkwang und die Stadt in 2022 marked the 100 year Anniversary of Museum Folkwang. On this occasion the sculpture was selected by Fari Shams from the collection of Museum, copied as 3d print, and modified by taping a mobile telephone to its head. With this addition Shams turns the physical hand gestures of the original sculpture into possible interactions in a digital space that cannot be seen by the viewer. Its plinth was painted pink and the sculpture placed in the center of the city of Essen.
The original sculpture was acquired by Karl Ernst Osthaus and the repositioning of the copy (The Educational Complex or The Awakening Man) in the city pays tribute to his ‘culture mission’ to transform social life through art. The title ‘the Awakening Man’ that was once used is therefore reclaimed for this work.
Shams’ recent work focuses on the relationship between playing and learning, the interaction between two or more individuals as an essential prerequisite for this process, and the implications of online learning on engagement between individuals.
In the past decade, significant research has been undertaken in the field of ‘learning environments’ and how the classroom and its structure must be considered in the context of education to embody an open architecture for learning, moving on from the hierarchical, frontal teaching mechanisms of the past.
In the context of the recent shift towards ever more online learning processes propelled in part by the pandemic, this work asks whether the school as physical space may become superfluous in the near future.