Listening to the material’s voice
Every material can express different emotions, says Iranian artist, designer and architect Ali Kourehchian. Transparent PLEXIGLAS® was the inspiration for his sculpture “Melancholy”.
How can melancholy be expressed in sculpture? How does it feel? Ali Kourehchian associated it with terms like “icy” – and a special material that allows him to express his ideas creatively. “The best material with which to realize this idea artistically was colorless PLEXIGLAS®, since it is transparent and colorless like ice,” explains Kourehchian.
Born in 1974 in Tehran and currently living in Los Angeles, the artist began his career as a technical drawer in architectural firms. In 2003, Ali Kourehchian founded his own company, “3rd Dimension of Design,” while simultaneously expanding his work as an artist. Kourehchian started by creating furniture and sculptures. In 1999, he then finished his first large sculpture, “Industry Horses”, in which he shaped horses from old car parts – the modern version of horses.
As this example suggests, Kourehchian’s fascinating creative process often revolves around the materials, letting them tell their own exciting stories. “I generally listen to the material’s voice,” he says. “Every concept requires a specific material for the best result – that is my basic idea.”
One of the most suitable materials for his series of artworks entitled “Loneliness” was PLEXIGLAS®. “The theme of the exhibition was loneliness,” he says. “I decided to use the human figure in a rather vague sense. I wanted to communicate a feeling of loneliness to visitors by association with an icy appearance.” Consisting of a human figure cowering in a pool, the sculpture “Melancholy” is an example of this. As the water level rises, the figure is completely submerged.
Melancholy in human form
© Youtube / Ali Kourehchian
The body of the impressive figure is made from transparent PLEXIGLAS® GS 0F00 GT sheets with a thickness of three millimeters. To make it, Kourehchian started by milling shapes of various sizes from the sheets. He then glued them together with the adhesives Acrifix® 107 and Acrifix® 190, which are especially suited to use with PLEXIGLAS®. Layer by layer, the figure of a sitting person – head resting on the legs in melancholy – began to take shape.
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PLEXIGLAS® GS is cast acrylic glass. It has unmatched resistance to aging and weathering, is highly transparent, brilliant, break-proof, easy to shape and work with and available in many colors.
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Since the water level rises and falls around the figure, the extraordinary sculpture also needed to be waterproof – another reason why the artist decided to use the brand acrylic glass.
“I am familiar with the durability of PLEXIGLAS® from my work as an architect,” says Kourehchian. The artist began his career at an architectural firm, where he worked as a drawer and learned to appreciate PLEXIGLAS® as a material for architectural design.
Even several years later, the durable PLEXIGLAS® shows no ill effects from the strenuous alternation of wet and dry. “I still use my architectural knowledge to help me manage the materials and technical aspects of my art,” says Kourehchian. “This is a particularly good example.”
He sees technical challenges as an inspiration and approaches every new task with curiosity and the expertise and routine of an experienced creator. “I am a student who firmly believes that nothing is impossible.”