Charles Simonds


Charles Simonds, New York 1945, studied at the University of California in Berkeley, and at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. His work began to take shape in the late sixties, when political and social protest movements developed on university campuses and were transmitted to a sector of the American art community. In 1970 Charles Simonds created his “dwellings”, tiny clay structures placed alongside demolished walls in New York districts such as SoHo or Lower East Side. These dwellings were the only visible trace of the existence of a civilisation of nomads, the Little People, defined by Charles Simonds’s imagination as hyperactive and extremely elusive. These works are metaphors of life and death, growth and decay. His later works, which can be linked with ancient ritual architecture such as mastabas, labyrinths, funeral towers and pyramids, abandoned the street and attained autonomy as sculpture. These pieces reflect on architecture and the systems of thought that sustain it. Simonds subsequently went on to ponder on the relationship between the artist and his work, gradually introducing the human figure into his creations.