Robert Lazzarini is a Brooklyn, NY based sculpter whose work plays with form and perception of everyday objects. He also incorporates themes of Americana and violence through his choice of objects.
At first glance Lazzarini’s sculptures are visually confusing. The object is immediately recognizable, but its shape is distorted– stretched and skewed to proportions that don’t make sense to the mind.
His process involves taking a real-life object, and digitally scanning it into a computer. He then uses the 3-D model to mathmatically distort the object to a proportion that looks surreal and bizzarre. Afterwards Lazzarini uses these figures to reconstruct the object in physical space. The result is an object that is mindbogglingly bent out of shape, yet still recognizable as its original form. No matter where you stand in relation to the object, you can’t mentally justify its position in your head.
Lazzarini takes this one step further during his gallery installations by hanging or placing the object by walls that are canted or built at an angle. This adds yet another layer of disorientation to his pieces. “You don’t recognize it at first, but when you come upon the work there’s an offset. So you’re trying to simultaneously unpack the work by physically walking around the work, then you have the walls acting as a kind of dislocating aspect to that.” (1)
While his mathmatical skewing of the object is the most prominent feature of Lazzarini’s sculptures, there are other, more subtle methodologies at play. “One of the conceits of my work,” he explains, “is eliminating material translation.” (2) Lazzarini uses only the proper corresponding materials to build his objects. For instance his safe and shotgun are made from the same metals that the original object would be made from. “[After finishing the design] he sends his schematics to the fabricators, and the metal barrel, hammer and triggers are milled, the wood handles carved. In the studio he reassembles the parts.” (3)
For his pieces “Safe” and “Shotgun,” Lazzarini went with a theme of depression-era violence. In this instance we see a safe whose door has been blown off the hinges, complete with blast marks. The shotgun too is the archetypal version of the weapon which you might expect to see a gangster holding in the 1930’s. He states, “I’m not interested in a narrative, just the Depression-era vibe. The mobster mythology of American violence.” (4)