The Axe, 2018

Photo: Roman März

Statuario marble, burnt spruce plinth
26.5 x 66 x 4 cm (sculpture)
600 x 50 x 50 cm (plinth)
The Axe sits in clear relation to Claudia Comte’s broader practice, to her investigation of artisanal and mechanized forms of production, and to the utilization of natural materials in craft and art historical traditions. Surrounded by forest as a child, Comte has sustained a relationship to those early influences of landscape and local, artisanal craftsmanship through her artistic practice. The themes of her work engage thoroughly with historical developments in craft which have seen traditional tools and methods replaced with the modern industrial technologies she now employs herself: as much as she relies on a mechanical chainsaw for her wood works, and the dual process of 3D scanning and machine-milling to produce her highly perfected and polished works in marble, her works exhibit an attention to precision and finish which honor the work of the hand in customary methods.
As positioned on its plinth, The Axe performs the tool’s definitive gesture, of dissecting wood into manageable sections of raw, workable material. By recalling a history of carving methods and tools, it also points to the relationship between human activity and the natural landscape, a concern Comte is keen to address in her own work. Thus, as much as it recalls a history of craft, skill, and technical education the work is loaded with pressing environmental concerns and in both ways is filled with notions of action, force, and effect. –Elsa Gray


Group exhibition: Abundant Futures
Venue: C3A Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía, Córdoba  
Curator: Daniela Zyman
April 1, 2022 - March 5, 2023
Claudia Comte,  was born  1983 in Switzerland. Her work is defined by her interest on the memory of materials and by a careful observation of how the hand relates to  different technologies.