AS-X by Konstantin Milonadis

AS-X, 1973
Konstantin Milonadis (Kremenchuck, Ukraine 1926 – Niles, Michigan 2012)
Stainless steel kinetic sculpture
Wabash Valley Exhibition Swope Art Museum Sculpture Purchase Award, 1974.03

Steel springs and long, thin stainless-steel rods were used by Ukrainian-born artist, Konstantin Milonadis, to fashion this brilliantly engineered kinetic sculpture. A wire cube appears to float above, and half encases a similarly shaped, slightly smaller base. Vertical rods hover miraculously inside both, as if suspended between heaven and earth. Their shadows cast complex geometric patterns onto the white pedestal. With your eyes, trace the metal lines in space. Your patience may be rewarded by coming to an understanding of why the whole contraption hasn’t collapsed.

The delicately balanced parts shimmer and dance in sensitive response to the gentle nudge of a gloved gallery attendant. Your reward is a symphony of chimes that evoke distant church bells pealing the angelus. As the movement slows, the sound recedes, rhythms compact, and, if you close your eyes, it is possible to imagine yourself in a field in the fading light of evening. In mid-19th century, French painter Jean-Francois Millet made a painting call “The Angelus.” A man and a woman stand with bowed heads, the setting sun denotes a sacred quality as it illuminates the atmosphere.

Millet said: “The idea for ‘The Angelus’ came to me because I remembered that my grandmother, hearing the church bell ringing while we were working in the fields, always made us stop work to say the Angelus prayer for the poor departed.”

Each generation brings its own experience to the interpretation of works of art. It is no surprise that pandemics, wars, and strife filter in and color our awareness. “AS-X” reminds us there are times when it is possible to appreciate beauty amidst sadness.

Artist Konstantin Milonadis was born in Ukraine in 1926 but lived in the United States from 1951 until his death in 2012. He exhibited in major museums throughout the United States and his works are included in numerous public and private collections. Milonadis was artist in residence at the University of Notre Dame at the time “AS-X” was acquired as the winner of the Sculpture Prize in the 30th Annual Wabash Valley Exhibition.

 

Featured in Terre Haute Living June 2022.

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