John de Andrea

John de Andrea is born in 1941 in Denver, Colorado. He studies from 1961 until 1965 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and works from 1966 to 1968 as Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

Since 1964 the female nude has stood at the center of his work. The hyperrealist imitation of the body becomes the central focus of his work. Experiments in fiberglass and modern glazes lead to a steady development of the illusion effect, which is received with amazement. With this de Andrea becomes part of an artistic tradition dating from the 19th Century that subscribes to the ideal of the perfect body using the most modern technical means. De Andrea aims less at using the presentation of the body as a means of social critical reflection – an emphasis that applies much more to the sculptures of Duane Hanson. De Andrea brings the distancing tension evoked by the seemingly authentic unclothed body to the fore. In addition to skin and hair color, the reticent mimicry, gesture and posture alone gives the figures variety. De Andrea uses the exhibition space not as stage that confronts the viewer with faded scenes from everyday life. Moreover, his sculptures appear to be a plea for the moral exemplariness of »natural« intactness and innocence of the body. At the same time, the slender and fit figures call memories and notions of beauty to mind that also circulate in the media (Standing Man, Standing Woman, 1970).

John de Andrea becomes known at the beginning of the 1970s, the photographic attention to detail and the illusion of physical authenticity are negotiated as artistic means of presentation in the Chicago Exhibition »Radical Realism« from 1971, but also Documenta 5 from 1972. De Andrea participates in the American traveling exhibition »The Reality of Illusion« in 1980 and is also present at the Documenta 7 in 1982.

The astonishing effect elicited by de Andreas hyper-realistic sculptures takes up where the dreams of sculptors from classical antiquity left off, aiming for an idealized »recreation« of man through a »vitalization« of art works since Pygmalion. In addition to variations of the sitting, standing or reclining body of this tradition (Seated Japanese Woman with Legs Crossed, 1976) de Andrea also copies famous works and motifs from art history (Manet: Dejeuner sur l’herbe 1982; Concealed Figure, 1989).

John de Andrea lives in Denver, Colorado.

Selected Literature

John de Andrea. Skulpturen: Ausst.-Kat. Kunsthaus Wien 1994, Wien 1994

John de Andrea: Ausst.-Kat. ACA Galleries, hg. v. Martin Bush, New York 1993

John de Andrea. Sculptures 1978 — 81: Ausst.-Kat. The Aspen Center for the Visual Arts, hg. v. P. Yveline, Aspen 1982

Kultermann, Udo: Radikaler Realismus, Tübingen 1972

Bildrechte: gemeinfrei, Foto: Peter Hinschläger Bildrechte: VG Bild Kunst, Bonn 2014 Bildrechte: Calder Foundation New York / Foto Stiftung Lehmbruck Museum Foto: Tobias Roch, Hagen

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