[2] Naum Gabo

Naum Gabo was a constructor, sculptor and painter. Born in Russia, Briansk. After living in London, he moved to St Ive’s to dodge the anticipated annihilation of London. He introduced the ‘constructive idea’ to the St Ives artists from 1935 to 1946, which influenced the St Ives artists greatly and subsequently influenced the modernisation of the landscape.

I will be focusing on Naum Gabo’s use of perspex, Gabo made constructions out of perspex to enhance the perception of light and space. Gabo’s spiral theme construction was greatly received by post-war Britain, the transparent plates curving and bending suggests growth and clarity. The reflective black plinth underneath the construction helps to enhance the contrast. It also gives it a larger concept of light and space, it appears majestic and elegant being on top of the plinth.


Spiral Theme 1941 by Naum Gabo 1890-1977
Spiral Theme (1941) By Naum Gabo

“It is still a mystery and puzzle to me as to what precisely it is … that has moved their hearts.” – Naum Gabo


I would like to think about using perspex as part of my project, I want to experiment with how light can affect a painting. I want to explore the pyramid shape, as its symbolic and the triangular qualities can enhance the light reflections.

I also feel that the relationship between mountain ranges within landscapes and pyramid’s are strong, the striking peak along with the strong base gives a real sense of strength and energy. The mystic qualities of the pyramid shape also correlate with the phenomenological experience of being face to face with a mountain range. This concept is something I feel could enhance my paintings, by using pyramid perspex constructions it could have an effect on paintings in terms of light.

Torsion 1928-36 by Naum Gabo 1890-1977
Torison (1928-36) by Naum Gabo

The above perspex construction by Naum Gabo shows many intricate shapes. I think the triangular forms above and below are striking and show exploration of space, using perspex enhances this. I can see a bodily form in Torison, which elucidates the concept of growth and renewal. Naum Gabo sought to create a sense of a defined space without enclosing or delimiting it, the layers of perspex create linear formations.


Construction in Space with Crystalline Centre 1938-40 by Naum Gabo 1890-1977
Construction in space with Crystalline centre (1938-40) by Naum Gabo

The above construction gives a different effect from being in a darker space with a light source, I love how the reflections are apparent throughout the construction. This piece is elegant and striking, the geometry within gives the sculpture a modernised effect.

“The purity of form in Construction in Space with Crystalline Centre is redolent of abstract mathematics or natural, organic rhythms. Similar in its standing relief form to Construction on a Line, this piece further explores the dynamics of space, creating interweaving lines and surfaces which pierce through both literal and implied planes.”

-Tate Website


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18 years old, first year fine art student in Cardiff :)

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