Born in New York in 1958, Jedd Novatt has always been comfortable straddling worlds. Raised between the United States and France, where he graduated from the Lacoste School of Fine Arts, he has gained an international reputation for sculptural works that tread a fine line between ostensibly polar realities—defying gravity while remaining solidly fixed and stable—and existing somewhere at the intersection of fine-art object, architectural rendering, and practical gadget.
“The form I focus on most is the inverse (negative space) of the material of the work: the space that surrounds it, which I imagine as solid,” Novatt has said. Open now at Art Plural Gallery in Singapore, a new exhibition of his work will bring that statement to life, presenting two large sculptures, as well as a selection of smaller-scale works and collages. Indeed, the artist’s compositions regularly use the geometric device of a cube—delineated in bars of stainless steel and bronze—to destabilize preconceived ideas about negative and positive space. His objects privilege the objecthood and physical presence of their materials, seemingly held aloft by some delicate, transcendent force even as they are brought to ground by the heft and weight of raw metal.
Above all, Novatt’s sculptures embrace paradox. They are eternally fixed in a state of motion, but the precise state of that motion is ambiguous. Whether they are caught as they fall apart—tumbling incessantly toward destruction and constantly on the verge of collapse—or as they come together, is unclear. Indeed, they embody an uneasy condition of disequilibrium that is fundamental to Novatt’s practice. Poised between imbalance and stability, they echo the perennial tensions experienced in our contemporary world.