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Form as RevoltCarl Einstein and the Ground of Modern Art$
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Sebastian Zeidler

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702082

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702082.001.0001

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Sculpture Ungrounded

Sculpture Ungrounded

(p.59) 2 Sculpture Ungrounded
Form as Revolt

Sebastian Zeidler

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how the groundlessness of language is converted into a tool for describing the groundlessness of art by focusing on Negro Sculpture (1915), Carl Einstein's text on visual art. It argues that Negro Sculpture was not a primitivist manifesto in any of the shopworn modernist senses; it was rather the result of a unique encounter between a lost wanderer and a set of uprooted objects. Far from abandoning the groundlessness of literature for the origin of art, Einstein instead discovered the former in the latter. This chapter suggests that groundlessness mattered in Negro Sculpture as both method and phenomenology and that Einstein's African sculpture ungrounded itself from the context into which it had been abducted. It also reads Einstein's Negro Sculpture in relation to Adolf von Hildebrand's relief and the freestanding sculpture of Georg Simmel's Auguste Rodin.

Keywords:   groundlessness, Negro Sculpture, Carl Einstein, visual art, lost wanderer, phenomenology, African sculpture, Adolf von Hildebrand, Georg Simmel, Auguste Rodin

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