Miami sculptor Rainer Lagemann, whose exhibit "Human Dimension" is currently on display at the World Erotic Art Museum now through November, credits a "mid-life crisis" with his decision to become an artist.
The German-born sculptor was a modern furniture importer and retailer in San Francisco when he decided to leave the business world and learn welding.
"When you learn welding, you have lots of little pieces left over. The retailer in me didn't want them to go to waste," Lagemann, now 51, recalls. At the time, he was an art collector, and fancied torsos and human form sculpture, so he decided to try his hand at recreating some of these forms.
He got hooked on the artistic process, and began emailing galleries images of his work. In time, he was offered representation. In 2008, he moved to Miami to take advantage of the art festivals here, but, by that time, he was already busy filling orders. "There is one gallery in Singapore that buys about 90% of everything I can make and ship to them." His work has been included in many group shows, and he has had solo exhibitions as well.
Lagemann's work may seem simplistic, but they are labor-intensive. He uses 750-1,000 small hollow metal squares for each of his large works, fashioning them himself from metal tubing. Each scupture begins with a body mold, so he can offer individuals customized pieces. He recently has begun offering the service to pregnant women. "A sculpture like this is the most perfect memory of pregnancy a woman could have," he notes.
WEAM owner Naomi Wilzig became aware of Lagemann when she saw his work at a local show, and then, again, pictured in a Florida magazine.
"His work is unique and interesting. I've seen human figures made from chicken wire, but what he does is much more professional than just bending chicken wire around a mold," she said.
She also likes Lagemann's philosophy. The sculptor envisions the squares he uses as representations of the trials and tribulations of life. The four corners represent the intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual dimensions of each person, and the outline of the square is the spirit and image of the body, he says.
"Creating the human form from squares is very exciting to see," Wilzig added.
The exhibit continues at the Miami Beach museum through Nov. 30.
Text and photo © Charlotte Libov
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