“From the moment we are born, the world tends to have a box already built for us to fit inside. Our umbilical cord never seems to be severed; we only find new needs to fill. If we disconnected and severed our attachments, would we shatter our confinements and expand beyond our shell? Would the world look different? Would we recognize ourselves? Are we the box that we are inside, and to be authentically ‘un-contained’ would we still be able to exist? This is the irony of containment. As long as we don’t push on the walls of our surroundings, we may never know how strong we really are.” Paige Bradley
Expansion is the masterpiece of the American sculptor Paige Bradley. It’s a very powerful sculpture, none can remain indifferent to it. Some people see a woman bleeding light when look at it, others (and that’s my case) see a woman transcending, turning into light with her inner power. Expansion is definitely one of my favourites sculptures. Since the first minute I saw it I felt a mix of feelings that I can’t explain with words. I never saw it in person, but even through photos this sculpture doesn’t lose its power.
The story behind Expansion
The story of Expansion tells us about changes and overcoming. Paige Bradley conceived this sculpture when she first moved to Manhattan, by that time it was difficult to the artists who worked with figurative arts find a place to exhibit, many of them started teaching. And Paige felt that if she wanted to stay in fine arts she needed to make “contemporary” art.
“I knew that it was time to let go of all the finely tuned skills I had acquired over the years, and just trust in the process of making art. The art world was telling me I had to break down my foundation, let my walls crumble, expose myself completely, and from there I will find the true essence of what I needed to say.
So, literally, I took a perfectly good (wax) sculpture– a piece I had sculpted with precision over several months– an image of a woman meditating in the lotus position, and just dropped it on the floor. I destroyed what I made. I was letting it all go. It was scary. It shattered into so many pieces. My first feeling was, ‘what have I done?!’ Then, I trusted it would all come together like I envisioned.
We cast all the pieces in bronze and assembled the pieces so they floated apart from one another. Then I brought in a lighting specialist and we built a crazy lighting system to make it glow from within. It turned out even better than I thought. And the best is that the image of ‘Expansion’ means so much to so many who see it. I get letters every day! I feel like I really did my job successfully!”
Expansion was selected by the Royal Shakespeare Company to promote their upcoming production of “DIDO: Queen of Carthage”, a play by Christopher Marlowe. The specific image selected was taken in London by photographer Anne Vinogradoff and will appear in all media promoting the production.
- Paige Bradley website
- Paige Bradley – The story of Expansion
- Royal Shakespear Company – “Dido: Queen of Carthage”
- All photographies are from Paige Bradley’s website