Man and Woman 1
Clay. 60 x 52 x 13 cm
This double figure, created towards the end of the artist’s life, embodies a union of man and woman, this time, however, not in its life-giving force, but as an urn or stele. The geometric composition was inspired by the sepulchral stelae of the Cycladic islands (3,000 BCE). But unlike the Cycladic figures it is almost mechanical, perhaps indicating a Futurist inspiration with its preoccupation with the machine, seen as a positive force. This work had such a powerful impact on the artist himself that he created an enlarged replica which he erected in front of the Johannesburg Public Library. There it stood for a while in the hieratic stillness of an Egyptian mastaba until the city’s authorities compelled him to dismantle it, as he had not obtained official permission for its erection.