Tête au carré [Square Head]
Sosno was a conceptual artist focused on the art of obliteration, specifically the near elimination of the figural form into voids and solids. His “squared heads,” as seen here in Tête au carré, are his most famous iconic forms. While the majority of the head is supplanted by a gigantic square, there is a strong allusion of beauty and grace to the perfectly proportioned block and elegant lines of the supporting chin, neck, shoulders and upper chest. In the artist’s words: "It's about using holes to hide things, which makes the imagination work. It's considerably more exciting than revealing everything. You mustn't show everything, say everything.” Other shapes that have been obliterated by either a solid block or a void have included renditions of classical Greco-Roman columns and statuary, horses and even a Fiat. Fascinated with the relationship between sculpture and architecture, Sosno turned his trademark square-head design into a 7-story library in Nice, France, where he lived the majority of his life.
Born Alexandre Joseph Sosnowsky, his first exposure to art came as an adolescent in 1948, when he met Henri Matisse who was living in the apartment next to him. Several years later as a teenager he met 2 additional seminal artists residing in Nice, Yves Klein and Arman. Klein and Arman were 2 of the co-founders of the Nouveau Réalisme movement in France in the 1960s. The driving force was to generate new ways of perceiving the real. It was seeing how these two artists followed this logic by obliterating their work through burning and removing sections that Sosno found his career-long inspiration.