jose dávila's totem-like vertical compositions trace the history of sculptural art

jose dávila's totem-like vertical compositions trace the history of sculptural art

jose dávila has synthesized vertical compositions out of recurrent elements present in sculptural language throughout the history of western art. adopting the cut-up technique developed and used by william s. burroughs and brion gysin to create new writings with cropped and rearranged texts, the guadalajara-based artist has formed totem-like columns that reflect the various aspirations in sculptural art throughout the centuries.

 jose dávila's totem-like vertical compositions trace the history of sculptural artall images courtesy of jose dávila




presented within the villanueva pavilion at the royal botanical garden of madrid and under the title not all those who wander are lost, dávila‘s sculptural compositions condense significant events in the history of art through the merging of organic and industrial materials; minimalist and classic elements; found objects and construction materials. the installation traces the course of sculptural language, including the function and history of the column from an element of constructive support to mere decoration, and the construction of totems in ancient times for spiritual and religious purposes. ‘in his seminal text “totem und tabu”, freud explains these objects as material reminders and warnings, they are also inhabited by immaterial beings, which implies an obvious contradiction for the western mind,’ dávila notes, ‘totems were destroyed or cloistered into the exhibition rooms of museums; columns were transformed into pedestals and plinths. paradoxically these classic architectural elements took distance from the building itself and became a sort of transition ground between the sculptural object and the architectural space.’




‘constantin brancusi was one of the first artists who merged the sculpture with its pedestal,’ the artist continues, ‘within his sculptures we can find an unprecedented material empathy, each material becomes a concrete message, and they accumulate in vertical dispositions; brancusi re-awakens the ascending spiritual order of ancient times. with his endless column at târgu jiu, romania, he materialized the idea of axis mundi. a not so well-known project by brancusi was to recreate the endless column as a 400-meter-tall skyscraper in chicago right beside the shore of lake michigan. an endless habitable column rising to the sky and being reflected infinitely to the depths of the water. brancusi also proposed the construction of a temple in indore, india, with the same shape of the endless column. if these proposals would have been constructed, this would have given shape to a modular method of connecting heaven and earth.’





project info:



artist: jose dávila

exhibition name: not all those who wander are lost

location: royal botanical garden, madrid

organized by: travesía cuatro

year: 2018

  • Very impressive pieces of sculpture in this exhibition. Bravo!

    Gary Lee-Nova says:
  • Extremely lazy stuff…and he knows it. Can’t even figure how to present a ball without wires. Lamezoid. Brancusi would not be amused or interested.

    Higgs Merino says:
  • I really love Jose’s work! I could live with his work….
    So good to see something fresh. : )

    Maria leonard says:

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