You don't have to be an art expert to appreciate something beautiful, whether it be a painting or a sculpture — you just have to feel it. Now, that may sound cheesy, but it's true. Award-winning sculptor Regardt van der Meulen crafts such stunning pieces that we challenge anyone not to feel moved by them, or at the very least be impressed by the skill it must take to achieve.
Meulen creates art in Johannesburg, using steel and concrete as his medium — which are both elements usually associated with unyielding strength and coldness. Open to interpretation, his sculptures often feature the human form in various states of disarray. Both simple and complex, Meulen's works are thematically surreal and open to interpretation.
For example, one piece is a full-length punching bag made of steel. Once you notice that Meulen named this particular sculpture Self-Portrait, it opens up a whole slew of interpretation. Is he implying that he feels like a constant target, or is he likening himself to unmovable strength? After all, those bags can take quite the hit.
"I sculpted each figure in a way that creates the notion that they are incomplete, melting or being pulled apart, deconstructed by a force either from within or without," he says of his Deconstructed Series, which is full of the human form in many stages of unraveling (or rebirth, depending on how you look at them).
He points to the fragility of society as one of the leading inspirations behind the series, saying, "When the dangers and violence of the current world we live in interrupts unexpectedly and the illusion of safety is shattered, we are gripped by fear and vulnerability. However, coming to terms with the conditions of our existence, we put on the armor of civility and carry on with our lives."
Eroded could suggest the erosion of individuality, a withering of character, self-worth, or significance. Or, thinking on the artist's inspiration, it could also represent a societal break down, where what was once valuable is now worthless — fine art, perhaps?
Drip appears to be a meltdown of sorts, like melted wax. While Deconstructed could be an unraveling, or a paused construction of a full being. Unravel features a ballerina doing exactly what the name implies, she's unraveling. Though she's literally falling apart, she looks to still be dancing, which can imply an unending strength within each of us.
I'll now leave you to enjoy the amazing art of Regardt van der Meulen. I know I did.