There is a striking beauty to Waltercio Caldas’s sculpture Untitled. By restricting himself to one material within the work, the highly reflective polished stainless steel, he gives the work a feeling of seeming simplicity and elegance on first look. The artist’s lightness of touch and skill with the steel make the sculpture appear almost like a sketch. Yet behind this seeming simplicity are complex issues. In his signature style, Caldas immediately forces the viewer to interact with the sculpture and by doing so its complexity is revealed.
The work itself becomes an investigation into opposites – positive and negative space, contained and open, inside and outside. The seemingly contained three dimensionality of the two cubes (which are actually open) is in contrast with the openness of the intersecting arcs at the other end of the work. There is a balance and play between solidity and fragility. There is a sense of repetition in the use of identical pieces on different scales. The forms interact with one another – both physically and spatially. And as you rotate around the work, there is an ambiguity – what seemed three-dimensional before suddenly appears two dimensional. Shapes and forms appear and disappear. Only using two basic geometric shapes, the arc and the cube, the artist is able to open up the whole question of space. We are no longer looking at just the sculpture, but the space around the sculpture. The negative space becomes as important an element. And our physical relationship to the piece comes into play. With a type of alchemy, the artist seems to be sculpting the very air around the work and the work in itself becomes a distilled and amplified version of all his previous investigations.