© Alexander Archipenko. VEGAP, Madrid, 2022
Born in Kiev, Alexander Archipenko traveled to Paris in 1908 during the most intense period of Cubism. His contact with avant-garde art permanently marked his career. Traditionally, the drawings and collages of great artists have been considered preparatory works or studies; however, in recent years they have been deemed autonomous pieces with value of their own.
Collage n.º 2 represents a dancer—or ballerina judging by the two hollows in the torso—raising her arms over her head while moving her legs rhythmically, in the manner of a puppet or a kite. Archipenko establishes tension between space and movement, between geometry and the human figure. The artist represents volume through chiaroscuro and avoids the flatness that is characteristic of some cubist collages.
Archipenko’s skill allowed him to maintain rhythm while still deconstructing the body, offering its parts as independent geometric figures. One can imagine the difficulty of transposing this image to sculpture, uniting its multiple parts in a three dimensional composition while preserving the movement and equilibrium that are so profoundly expressive in the collage.