Ed Ruscha United States, b. 1937

"I'm interested in glorifying something that we in the world would say doesn't deserve being glorified. Something that's forgotten, focused on as though it were some sort of sacred object."

-Ed Ruscha

 

This  sculptural edition by Ed Ruscha, WEN OUT FOR CIGRETS N NEVER CAME BACK, joins an ancient technique with one of the most iconic contemporary artists of our time. The sculpture was created by innovating with the classical lost wax process of bronze casting. This cast bronze edition takes Ruscha’s oblique use of language to the third dimension, bringing negative space and shadow to life. The sculpture represents the first time Ruscha has ever worked wholly in three dimensions – from the initial concept through to the final object.

WEN OUT FOR CIGRETS N NEVER CAME BACK exhibits an active engagement with its surroundings. As one moves around the sculpture the shadows grow and shrink, words appear or vanish, depending on the vantage point and lighting. Conceived to be hung on a wall or placed on any flat surface, the verso was designed to accommodate any orientation via a continuous series of teeth that allude to Ruscha’s interest in found, forgotten and hand made objects. One of the surprises provided through this work is the reminder that even the most machined elements in our mass produced world arise via our creativity and hands.

The text sprung from a seriffed font hand-drawn by Ruscha specifically for this work. The subtle variations in each of these letters were carefully transferred from ink to bronze to ensure Ruscha’s hand is always present. At first glance each letter reads as a true type font; the angle at which it emerges seems consistent. Upon closer inspection one notices the slight irregularities in the formation of each letter as well as the subtle variations in how the text presents; the tension between the hand- and machine-made quietly straining for our attention. The broken circle and shadows speak to the transience implied by the words jutting from hand-patinated bronze. The text has an enigmatic storytelling quality that goes around the steering wheel shape like a refrain in a country song about a hard hewn life. The music of this phrase is classic American vernacular, the hard “r”s and dropped consonants spoken with sideways innuendo. Car culture, wanderlust, beginnings and endings come to mind, conjuring the restless spirits of literary heroes.