Height: 7 feet
Courtesy of the artist
It was the fascinating discovery that clouds could be hundreds of tonnes in weight that propelled American sculptor Karen LaMonte into creating her magnificent, monumental, marble cloud sculpture, Cumulus - seen here at the 2017 Venice Biennale.
Wanting to base her sculpture on the size, shape and weight of an actual cloud, LaMonte worked closely with climate scientists at Caltech to calculate the exact dimensions. With the aid of a supercomputer, they undertook one of the largest cloud simulations they’d attempted and digitally created an array of clouds. LaMonte then converted the data into this complex, bulbous, muscular sculpture; anthropomorphic in nature, as clouds often are, its shape is reminiscent of twisting and writhing human bodies. And, at 2.5 tonnes, it matches the water weight of its corresponding cloud.
Known more widely for her metal and glass clothing sculptures, LaMonte experienced no qualms sculpting something vastly different and, in fact, felt compelled to create it: “You can only be brave if you perceive risk and I didn't perceive any risk at all...I had to make the piece.” Further, she perceives a connection between clouds and her existing body of work, explaining that clouds and clothing are universal and both, therefore, are unifying experiences.
Karen LaMonte's work is on display at the Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, TN, until September 2nd 2018 and Kampa Museum, Prague until November 4th 2018
For more information karenlamonte.com
Hedge issue 51, pp78-84, August 2018