Paul Lewthwaite

Artist Statement

Paul Lewthwaite

Sculpture seems to offer absolutes. An object exists in the real world. It can be held or walked around and occupies space. The realness of sculpture, however, is an illusion. It has a form, with surface and substance and colour, but it is also, in essence, something else.


My work is the result of an exploration within the threshold between two conditions; Presence and Transcendence.


The attempt to produce a searching, meaningful proposition is always anchored by the physical. In this manner, it is the actual framework of making which grounds transformation. Simultaneously, however, the object as art-form attempts to present something of the sacred, intangible, non-physical.


The Palmesel

Image of 15th century Palmesel, from Franconia, Germany. © Metropolitan Museum of Art.


The Palmesel, German for Palm Donkey, is a half-sized figure of Christ on an ass, mounted on a wheeled platform. In the Middle Ages, the Palmesel was an important part of Palm Sunday processions throughout many German speaking regions.


For me, the Palmesel symbolises a truth about sculpture. The maker strives to reproduce Christ's entry into Jerusalem, by carving, constructing and painting. A vision of religious contemplation is produced, moving through crowds and pulled by worshippers. However, the act of making this illusion, and the mechanism used, ensures that the sculpture is always earthed. It is an object on a trolley, after all.


Paul Lewthwaite, 2014.