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Claes Oldenburg

b.1929 Stockholm, Sweden
1954 MA Art Institute of Chicago, IL, USA
1950 BA Yale University, CT, USA
Lives and works in Manhattan, California, USA and the Loire Valley, France

As one of the most original artists in Western modern art, Oldenburg has been associated with American Pop art movements since the 1960s, for his use of banal objects from everyday life and imagery from mass culture. However, Oldenburg’s art in its spirit as well as execution style is more akin to Dada and Surrealism, manifested in his Happenings and performances.

Against a traditional notion of sculpture as life-sized, solid objects, Oldenburg produced numerous sculptures of banal objects such as a clothes peg and a lipstick in gigantic scale. In his ‘soft sculpture� series, the artist questions our relationship with an object by manipulating its scale and materials. A typewriter, a switch, a tooth paste and a piece of cake made in fabrics and vinyls open up a new dimension in our spatio temporal and haptic understanding of objects and surroundings. His Ice Bag-Scale B, 1971 explores further the man/object relationship: with mechanical movement, the ice bag rises up to 40 inches, giving the viewer an illusion that the object is animated and has its own rhythm of life.

Apart from over 40 large-scale public sculptures around Europe, Asia and the USA, Oldenburg’s works are held in the public collections of prestigious art institutions worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Tate Gallery, London, UK, the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Stedelijk, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland and Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris, France.

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