Despite the fact that steel is generally considered to be rough and robust, Pieter Obels' sculptures seem to dispute these properties of the material. When we look at Richard Serra's monumental steel plates and we wonder about the curves he is able to give to this material, you literally feel the enormous weight, size and strength.
Pieter Obels works with the same corten steel, but what his work mainly shows is airiness and elegance, as he bends the steel into exceptionally delicate and swinging forms. These two artistic worlds could not be further apart. It is almost like looking at the yin and yang of the same material.
Through a clever interplay between rigidity and mobility, Obels' work fills a space that balances between a feeling of weighting and weightlessness. His sculptures change our perception about what a steel sculpture should look like and behave. The curves in his work demand the impossible of the material and defy the properties of steel.
Obels wants to create completely organic forms with an extreme but also somehow naturally present feeling of plasticity. This sense of natural rhythm means that his sculptures are completely one in any natural environment. Instead of imposing themselves on the place where they are placed, they seem to reflect the soft edges and harmony that are present in nature. Despite the apparently cold material, the curves and the rusty brown color ensure that the sculptures naturally enter into a relationship with the environment.
Obels only works without assistants. This influences his way of working in such a way that he imposes the will in an unusual and inventive way. His works are of this time, but make you longing for a past time in which poetry was more important than power and fragility and balance were more important than industrial sounds. This precarious balance, which is reflected in many of his other works, plays beautifully with the apparent contradiction inherent in his material.
His work mimics the world in which we would like to live; a world dominated by aesthetics and consciousness with nature. The curve, in contrast to the straight line, is reminiscent of a more merciful, less serious universe where objects embrace and do not repel, where dialogue is always possible and agreement is always found.
Gallery Rosenfeld Porcini, London