Location: #7 Located in Park Tower on Town Center Drive and Bristol Street
Jean Dubuffet’s “Tour Aux Jambes” may look like work of a naïve artist, but it is actually the creation of an eminently sophisticated Frenchman who valued the power of irrational and untrained inspiration. “Tour Aux Jambes” can be translated as “Encirclement of of Limbs” or “Tower of Legs.” Either way, the title clarifies Dubuffet’s theme of building a monolithic structure from entwined elements.
His treatment of the “limbs” or “legs” is so abstract that it is impossible to see human components, yet it’s easy to follow the sculpture’s form and content. The contours of this roughly cylindrical-white column-made of epoxy and polyurethane-are emphasized by heavily outlined areas filled with stripes or with flat sections of blue, red or black pigment. This artwork is rather like a three-dimensionaljigsaw puzzle, though its lines are only on the surface. Painted with many convoluted elements-none of which is dominant-the sculpture seems to illuminate the concept of strength in numbers.
“Painting manipulates materials that are themselves living substances,which allows one to go much further than words do in approaching and conjuring them.”
– Jean Dubuffet
Jean Dubuffet - Tour Aux Jambes
Bio: (1901 -1985) Le Havre, France. Jean Dubuffet pursued many occupations before settling on his career. He worked in the family wine business and as a designer for a central heating company. He composed experimental music and also did theatrical designing. In 1918 he went to Paris where after six months he gave up his course in painting at the Academie Julian and started working on his own. By 1945 he had started to collect so called ‘ugly art’ or art brut, and in 1948 he founded a society to promote this type of work. He also wrote some important statements, criticizing the cultural aims of post-Renaissance Western art, in place of which he advocated the more spontaneous, non-verbal, and spiritually potent qualities of primitive cultural expression.
The Piece: Tour Aux Jambes is translated to Encirclement of Limbs or Tower of Legs. It is an eight-foot high cast epoxy sculpture located in the lobby of the Park Tower. It was selected by Henry T. Segerstrom from a series of maquettes made in 1973. The piece itself was completed in 1980 and is one of a group of works that are architectural in nature using Dubuffet’s characteristic colors red, white, blue, and black. It is so abstract it is impossible to see human components. Like a 3 dimensional jigsaw puzzle, it illuminates the concept of strength in numbers. .
Quote: “Art should be born from the materials and, spiritually, should borrow its language from it. Each material has its own language so there is no need to make it serve a language,” Jean Dubuffet.