Composition with Three New Piles of Sand


Mark Manders ( Dutch, 1968 )

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General Description

Composition with Three Piles of Sand is a tour-de-force of asymmetry and balance, peacefulness and tension. The figure, limbless save for the one left leg—its fulcrum—leans back perilously on a wooden beam held taut by a rope in a catapultlike structure; the three piles of sand referenced in the title rest on the crossbeam at its feet. Balance and equilibrium are key elements in this work. The figure does not appear exactly comfortable, but its expression is calm and peaceable. Nonetheless, tension ripples through the work, and it appears as if the slightest move by the figure or a snapped wire could propel the figure across the room. Reflecting on this work, Manders wrote, “When I made this fragile, altarlike work, I was thinking a lot about the Middle Ages in Europe and the start of Christian imagery. I wanted to make a balancing act that is both cruel and peaceful.” In tension and repose, this sculpture is both powerful in its control and poignant in its delicacy.

Excerpt from

Jeffrey Grove, DMA Label copy, Variations on Theme: Contemporary Art 1950s - Present, 2012.

Web Resources

Learn more about artist Mark Manders.