Mystery of Serial Forms



Mystery of

Serial Forms

Uniqueness – Reproducibility – Validity:

A Change of Interpretation in Arts and Science


Erich Gnaiger und Richard Agreiter


OROBOROS MiPArt Publications, Innsbruck, Austria 2009. 52 Pages.          Book with CD MiPArt  25.- €

English Translation

Mitochondrial Physiology Network 14.8: 1-3 ©2009 OROBOROS                                     2009-05-24


Rhythm of Serial Forms

                                       Printed book: page 6


A piece of art, a glance, acquaintance, chance, adventure, discovery – the uniqueness of artefacts, appearances, forms and events elevates them beyond the masses of productions and reproductions.  Uniqueness as opposed to repetition means irreplaceability and added value in contrast to copying and imitation.  The unique piece attracts specific attention and gains its special price.  Prices are awarded for first discoveries and inventions as much a for unique artworks.  



Without questioning the significance of the unique original, the arrangement and display of the bronze plastic art of Richard Agreiter opens our eyes by the combined placement of several sculptures that have been cast repeatedly from the same original model.  We present a selection of the oeuvre of Richard Agreiter with targeted emphasis on repetition, reiteration and on the rhythm of the Serial Form.  Each original displays by its serial composition the continuous transition between an individually numbered bronze sculpture and the unmistakeable unique piece of art.  Each single copy is characterized by its individual alloy as modified in the sequential casts, by the specific selection of the sand types in the sand cast, pursued experimentation with temperature and consequential variations originating in part by chance, and by the post conditioning of the bronze surface adjusted according to the individual bronze cast.  By conscious omission of touching-up or ‘correcting’ the playful varieties of a bronze cast, a surprising metamorphosis may emerge, that underscores the uniqueness of each successful experiment.



In essence, each bronze cast constitutes an experiment.  In science, an experiment lacks any validity if it is not reproducible multiple times.  It is only the reproduced result which endows the single event with validity and value.  Lawful predictability under defined boundary conditions is derived only from empirically documented reproducibility of the experimental result.  The more frequently reproducibility stands the actual test, the closer approach ‘verified’ phenomena the validated power of a natural law.  Arts has abandoned long ago the confinements of laws and rules, and moved out of all boundaries into the free space, the added value of which is limited only by the loss of general validity, exposed to the arbitrariness of evaluation, to the chance of success, to the free game without rules.  But consider the contrary: “The inferiority of the game has its limits in the superiority of seriousness” (Johan Huizinga: Homo Ludens).  The excitement in the play – in the rhythm of forms and in the rhythm of music alike – becomes enhanced by statistical laws of dynamics and their surprising interruption.  Reproducibility is not the counterpart but a serial microscopic and macroscopic constitutional part of the unique on various levels of complexity.  Uniqueness evolves by reproducibility, in the quest of the artist and scientist for unerring validity. 


From the Serial Ensemble to the Serial Sculpture   Printed book: page 10


We propose the hypothesis that for the first time in the history or arts, the presentation of serial – that is multiple – bonze casts of an original cast model is selected as a leitmotiv, which we define as Serial Sculpture, and which we realize in the exhibition MiPArt 2009. It is clear that Serial Art has its roots as early as the late 19th century.  The bronze sculpture, however, displays almost a sense of shame against being exhibited in series with its equals.  Richard Agreiter uses the coined and conventionally at up to seven limited edition, to expand a sculpture in all facets and fathom the theme – including the usually three E.A., the Epreuve d’Artiste.  In that way these bronze casts become part of the unity of the Serial Ensemble. To define such a unity by a proper term – to comprehend the concept – we were lead back to the idea of the serial presentation of several samples (examples) of a sculpture and bring it into play as the Serial Sculpture.


      BIG MAMA is part of a central theme in the art of Richard Agreiter.  In the sculpture ENSEMBLE, he unites the feminine and masculine – BIG MAMA and the SELFEVIDENT – in an ‘ensemble’.  This stimulates towards further, playful experimentation with sculptures, with the elements of various Serial Ensembles up to the Serial Sculpture: BIG MAMAS – together we are stronger.


      Each sculpture demands validity on its own.  The Serial Sculpture, however, emphasizes not merely the rhythm of forms, it contributes to the tempo giusto - the adequate tempo - of our approach.  The serial assembly demands slowing down, decelerates, extends into depths, simultaneously relaxes and elicits excitement.



Serial Sculpture from the Serial Ensemble STATUAIRE    Printed book: page 18


COMMUNITY was created by Richard Agreiter as a group of three sculptures from the Serial Ensemble STATUAIRE.  The Serial Sculpture emerged already at an early state as MAMETTE (page 24), and can be interpreted as an extension of the combination of different elements (ENSEMBLE, page 17; DANCE OF THE ELVES, page 44).  Our photographic experiments took up this trace and lead us to the discovery of a concept which we define here with the term Serial Sculpture and which we place into the thematic centre of the exhibition MiPArt 2009.


Force of the Artist and Thermodynamics


                    Printed book: page 26


When metal heated and melted by coke fire is poured into the sand cast, then we experience the process of transformation as an interplay between the artist's force and the driving forces of thermodynamics.  The workshop of the master is reminiscent of the laboratories of alchemy.  The transformation of the metal reminds us of the magic process of transmutation.  Bronze melts at a temperature of about 1000 °C, depending on the ratio of metal components of the alloy.  The casting temperature is varied individually up to 1050 °C.  If the glowing and flowing metal dances too far out of bounds, then the experiment may be evaluated to be besides the point.  The perfection of the master of his trade consists in the success of the majority of the experiments.  Good luck plays an inevitable role.  Uncontrollable variations remain even at highest perfection of the artist or scientific experimentalist.


Origin of a complete piece of art

All steps in the origin of a complete piece of art of Richard Agreiter remain in his hands, from the creation of the idea, sketches and models, the first plaster model, the forming of the mould, up to the casting of the bronze alloy, and the subsequent individual chiselling of the sculpture.  Thereby his old friend of bronze casting, Dieter Kröll, contributes significantly to the success of a cast.


Let the feathers be


                    Printed book: page 30


By pursuing the archaic craft of bronze casting, Richard Agreiter imprints all his vitality into each individual bronze sculpture.  The skeleton of the SHARKS is shown with the plaster model and the finished bronze sculpture as a developmental series.  In his early phase, Richard Agreiter removed painstakingly all ‘feathers’ generated by high densities of the sand and the escaping bronze.  Only later he began to appreciate the forces of the casting process as a contribution action of nature, rather than disguising it as a counteractive resistance.  Thus creative elements were retained, shaped by the dynamics of the flowing metal as irrepeatable contoures, lines and interrupted shapes along the margins, which characterize each singular bronze cast as an individual peace of art.

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