Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuși at Târgu Jiu
The Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuși at Târgu Jiu (Romanian: Ansamblul sculptural Constantin Brâncuși de la Târgu-Jiu) is an homage to the Romanian heroes of the First World War. The ensemble comprises three sculptures: The Table of Silence (Masa tăcerii), The Gate of the Kiss (Poarta sărutului) and the Endless Column, (Coloana fără sfârșit) on an axis 1.3 km (3⁄4 mile) long, oriented west to east. The ensemble is considered to be one of the great works of 20th-century outdoor sculpture.
The monument was commissioned by the National League of Gorj Women to honor those soldiers who had defended Târgu Jiu in 1916 from the forces of the Central Powers. Constantin Brâncuși (1876–1957) was at the time living in Paris, but welcomed the opportunity to create a large commemorative sculpture in his homeland. He accepted the commission in 1935, but refused to receive payment for it.
The Endless Column symbolizes the concept of infinity and the infinite sacrifice of the Romanian soldiers. The Endless Column stacks 15 rhomboidal modules, with a half-unit at the top and bottom, making a total of 16. The incomplete top unit is thought to be the element that expresses the concept of the infinite. Brâncuși had experimented with this form as early as 1918, with an oak version now found in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The modules were made in the central workshop of Petroșani (Atelierele Centrale Petroșani), assembled by Brâncuși's friend engineer Ștefan Georgescu-Gorjan (1905–1985), and completed on 27 October 1938. All 16 rhomboidal modules accumulate a total height of 29.3 m.
In the 1950s, the Romanian communist government planned to demolish the column and turn it into scrap metal, but this plan was never executed. After the Romanian Revolution of 1989 and the fall of the Communist regime, there was renewed interest in restoring the column, which by that time suffered from tilting, cracking, metal corrosion, and an unstable foundation. For these reasons the site was listed in the 1996 World Monuments Watch by the World Monuments Fund. The restoration was facilitated by the Fund, which organized meetings for the stakeholders in 1998 and provided funding through American Express. Subsequently, the site was restored between 1998 and 2000 through a collaborative effort of the Romanian Government, the World Monuments Fund, the World Bank, and other Romanian and international groups.
Two other pieces constitute the Ensemble. The Table of Silence is a circular stone table surrounded by twelve hourglass-seats, which symbolize time. The Table of Silence represents the moment before the battle on which the combatants were going to participate. Nevertheless, the seats are not located close to the edges of the table.
The Ensemble was inaugurated on 27 October 1938. During the socialist Realism epoch, Brâncuși had been challenged as an exponent of "cosmopolitan bourgeois formalism". However, in 1964 Brâncuși was "rediscovered" in Romania as a national genius, and consequently, the Ensemble of Târgu Jiu was restored, after a long period of degradation.
- Parigoris, Alexandra (2007). "Brâncuși and his return to Romania". Brâncuși's Endless Column Ensemble (Ernest Beck ed.). London: Scala Publishers. pp. 12–29, 21.
- MoMA | The Collection | Constantin Brancusi. Endless Column. version I, 1918
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- Constantinoiu, Marina (27 October 2019). "Comuniștii au vrut să dărâme Coloana Infinitului și s-o dea la fier vechi" [The communists wanted to tear down the Endless Column and turn it into scrap metal] (in Romanian). Retrieved 12 June 2020.
- "Brancusi's Endless Ensemble". World Monuments Fund. Archived from the original on 29 October 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
- Newton, Richard (Summer 2006). "Reclaiming Sacred Space: Landscaping Constantine Brancusi's Endless Column Complex" (PDF). ICON Magazine. pp. 32–39. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
- Parigoris, Alexandra (21 January 2002). "Endless Column Restored". Sculpture. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
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