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Christopher Cairns


A selection of sculptures by Christopher Cairns, professor of fine arts at Haverford College, will be on display in Haverford's Cantor-Fitzgerald Gallery April 5-May 5.

Created in 1996, "Wieviel Stück?" is a tableau of five male figures in original plaster, modeled in clay and rags. The title originates from the book If This is a Man by Primo Levi, an Italian-Jewish author who was incarcerated in Auschwitz during World War II. In one section of the book, Levi describes how the Germans referred to arriving detainees about to go through selections as "pieces," as if they were no more than pieces of wood. "Levi communicates direct, frightening feelings about human beings and the human condition," says Cairns.

Cairns' collection of bronze figures spans his career as a sculptor and consists of 32 pieces, including several of his heads (1969-1976) and such full-body works as Phaedra (1982), Twisting Figure (1984), Challenger Disaster (1987), Old Men Kissing (1995) and Benificence (1999). The sculptures are inspired by a variety of sources, such as classical and jazz music, 19th-century literature, Hellenistic sculpture and mythology, and often depict the human body under extreme circumstances.

A native of Wilmington, Del., Cairns received his M.F.A. in sculpture from Tulane University in New Orleans, La. His work has been displayed in local venues such as Philadelphia's Ericson Gallery, in New York galleries like Hatfield and Hatfield, and in international museums like the Stadtsparkasse Munchen in Munich, Germany.

Originally posted at: http://www.haverford.edu/news/stories/28561/11