This vertical hanging sculpture is almost eleven feet tall, and features six lobes of delicate “crocheted’ mesh, crafted with wire made from iron, copper, and brass. The continuous, undulating form resembles a mesh tube that has been pinched in some places, and stretched in others, to create a series of symmetrical, but irregularly sized orbs. Some of the resulting shapes resemble bulbous onions, almost two feet in diameter, with domed tops that taper to a point. Others are much thinner, like elongated cocoons that taper at both ends to a width of mere inches. The uppermost lobe has an onion-dome top, and a collar at its base that is shaped like a tea cup saucer. Beneath that, near the middle of the sculpture, are two orbs with multiple layers. Each contains a second pod with a wire mesh sphere inside, not unlike a yoke inside an egg, floating in a basket. A long, stretched cocoon of wire mesh hangs beneath the first three lobes, linking them to a cluster of orbs at the bottom of the sculpture. These overlapping shapes resemble two distorted hourglasses. A single sphere is suspended inside the top lobe of this bottom grouping.
Ruth Asawa
Untitled (S.114, Hanging, Six-Lobed Continuous Form within a Form with One Suspended and Two Tied Spheres) , ca. 1958

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Untitled (S.114, Hanging, Six-Lobed Continuous Form within a Form with One Suspended and Two Tied Spheres)
Artist name
Ruth Asawa
Date created
ca. 1958
Classification
sculpture
Medium
iron, copper, and brass wire
Dimensions
131 x 22 x 22 in. (332.74 x 55.88 x 55.88 cm)
Date Acquired
2014
Credit
Collection SFMOMA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Phyllis C. Wattis Fund for Major Accessions
Copyright
© Estate of Ruth Asawa
Permanent URL
https://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/2014.794
Artwork Status
On view on floor 2 as part of Open Ended: Painting and Sculpture, 1900 to Now.

In the summer of 1947, between terms as a student at North Carolina’s Black Mountain College, Asawa traveled to Toluca, Mexico, on a service trip. In the local markets, she discovered craftspeople making wire baskets. The experience inspired her technique of looping wire around wooden dowels. “You work on it as you go along,” she explained. “You make the line, a two-dimensional line, then you go into space, and you have a three-dimensional piece.” Asawa made Untitled (S.114 . . . ), among the most evocative and ambitious of her hanging wire sculptures, in her studio on Saturn Street in San Francisco.

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