The Royal Academy of Arts has unveiled a new large-scale artwork in its courtyard, by the influential American artist Frank Stella. The 7-meter tall sculpture, titled Inflated Star and Wooden Star (2014). The objects are made of aluminium and teak wood. Conceived digitally, the image was modelled and refined by the artist to the verge of minimalism before it went into production.
The contrasting materials employed in the sculpture, the natural wood against the highly finished metal, the differing treatments of space in the line-drawn star and the round curves of the solid star, create a tension and sense of the works being both repelled and attracted to each other.
Inflated Star and Wooden Star, which is being shown in the UK for the first time, is on display at the Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard, where it will be on display until May 17. The artist is best known for his abstract painting, prints and sculptures, Stella’s early preoccupation with creating illusions of space within two dimensions has developed and evolved from ‘sculptural wall-based paintings’, to large free standing works that continue to employ his particular language of painting and spatial exploration.
After graduating from Princeton University in 1958, the artist moved to New York City, where he absorbed the vibrant contemporary art scene founded by Abstract Expressionist figures such as Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline. His career was meteoric, and he became the youngest artist to have a retrospective at MoMA in 1970, aged just 33. The artist’s personal life was equally exciting, as he forged friendships with key artists and critics of the period such as Carl Andre, Barbara Rose, and Hollis Frampton.
2015 will be an important year for the artist. This autumn, a major retrospective of his work will open at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. It will be the most comprehensive exhibition of his entire oeuvre thus far.