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The Kiss by Theo Megaw

Theo Megaw (1929-)

The Kiss
2000, 2003 (small version)

Simbolies van moederliefde, is The Kiss as opdragwerk van me. Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg tydens Vrouedag in 2014 onthul. Die werk is geïnspireer deur moeders as rolmodelle vir hulle kinders en binne die gemeenskap. Die werk beeld liefde en omgee op subtiele wyse uit, in teenstelling met die erotiese liefde in gelyknamige Rodin en Klimt werke.


Symbolising motherly love, The Kiss was commissioned by Mrs. Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg and revealed for Women’s Day 2014. The work is inspired by mothers as role models for children and in society. The sculpture portrays genuine and subtle notes of care and love and contradicts the erotic love of represented in well-known work by Rodin and Klimt which shares the same title.

To the question of why he sculpts, Theo answers “I just do. It comes out of me, through my hands. I suppose if I think about it I could say I like being in the presence of solid form. It has a grounding effect. My hands like making. And I like moving while I work. I like bending and reaching and hammering and lifting and being on my feet all day. There’s a lot of movement needed to bring about the stillness of a piece of sculpture. Creating form for me is an organic process. I strive to evoke feeling. If it does not express feeling, any art form, music, painting, writing, sculpture, to me is nothing. I don’t want you to think about my sculpture. It’s a gut reaction I want.

(I find inspiration in) a mass of cloud, a wisp of cloud. Breathing fresh mountain air. Sunlight on a rough tree trunk. The curve in a neck between shoulder and ear. A Brahms clarinet and piano sonata. It doesn’t have to be visual. A particular woman’s body. An impala. Allowing myself to be inwardly quiet - to make it my connection with the universe.  Sometimes the period of quiet is a day, sometimes it’s a week.

My favourite medium is the one I’m working on at that moment. Each medium is right for a certain mood-of-work, a certain feel, a certain tempo. Clay is right for fast, fiery work. Stone, on the other hand, is right for a slow, ruminative approach; shall I make this a little more concave?  Shall I make that a little more convex?  With steel you work everything out - you calculate and cut and fit. Wood - you fall in love with the sensuousness of colour and grain and the feeling of longness - the tree wants longness. Squatness belongs to stone. With stone and wood, you chip away what you don’t want. With clay it’s the opposite. You start with nothing and add until you have what you want.” – Theo Megaw.

Theo Megaw on sculpture, inspiration and medium. Extracts from an interview with Polly Anderson. Text courtesy of Polly Anderson and Knysna Fine Art.

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