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Tag Archives: “Separated United Forms”

Separated United Forms book launch at the Mandrake, Los Angeles, CA.

The launch included a noise/spoken word set performed live via turntables by David Schafer, which functioned as a score for an animation projection made up of 3D renderings of the sculpture. The animation was produced in collaboration with Machine Histories. Jan Tumlir as DJ followed with a blobby set.


The book, published and distributed by Charta Art Books and designed by artist Mitchell Kane, chronicles the concept and fabrication process of creating the commissioned sculpture “Separated United Forms”. Numerous pictures and technical captions are included throughout the pages, from scanning the Henry Moore sculpture to its digital form, models, and the final placement and installation of the bronze forms. Also included is an essay by myself, and by critic Jan Tumlir.

Amazon review by Jenn Joy, lecturer and sculpture faculty, Rhode Island School of Design:

David Schafer’s Separated United Forms (2010) is a book that you want to touch. It feels less like a document and closer to a supplementary object, a slick matte container for various mediations on the titular site-specific sculpture, its processes, and provocations.
The overall designs draws on slick digitized graphics of architectural renderings to emphasize the series of scale shift between the source sculpture–Henry Moore’s Reclining Form– and Schafer’s Separated United Forms, between SUF and the immediate hospital architecture, between architecture and surrounding space. My reading then participates in this scanning and sampling as I must hold multiple ideas of scale and site simultaneously.

Schafer’s essay, “Where does it Hurt?” offers a genealogy for the work, one that is as much art historical as it is material and social. Tracing connections between medical and archival techniques, he details the processes–scanning, processing, composing, fabricating–that translate or perhaps even deform Moore’s form in order reform it. For me, SUF offers a provocative explication of the subtle humor of gesture as a way of attending to and restaging moments from art history all under the shadow of the medical community and art museum. And this humor is always a spatial, corporeal and conceptual thing. Is it possible he asks to reactivate Vitalist life form or psychic energetics through scanning? What other fictions are hidden within?

As in response, Jan Tumlir structures his essay around the refrain “What is it?” Is it alien or blob or abstract or analytic? Where does it come from? And what has it been reading along the way? As if in response to the densely citational work of SUF, Tumlir offers the reader a series of parallel trajectories for engagement rather than considering Schafer’s genealogies in depth. At times, his writing seems anxious to avoid any statement that might seem conclusive or over-describe the work as if that might limit it my reading of SUF. And it is a great compliment to the work itself, that it generates these possibilities.

“Separated United Forms”

cast bronze, concrete, in-ground lighting
sculptures: 7.5′ x 12.5′
platform: 20′ x 40′

Installation view Huntington Hospital
Pasadena, California.
Photo Credit: Eric Staudenmaier

“Separated United Forms” was commissioned in 2006 by the One Percent for the Arts in collaboration with the Pasadena Arts Commission.

Responding to the function and location of the Huntington Pavilion, I selected a work by Henry Moore titled “Reclining Form”, 1966, a small, two-part marble sculpture, in the collection of the Norton Simon Foundation, Pasadena. The Henry Moore sculpture was scanned using a hand-held 3D body-scanning device also used by medical facilities such as the Huntington Pavilion. Using 3D modeling software and rapid prototyping process, the resulting three-dimensional models were superimposed, rotated, doubled and enlarged, generating new animate forms that reference the “vital life force”.

Photography by Eric Staudenmaier, Bob Davidson