With his pierced ear, a name that evades pronunciation and a tendency to caress his Willendorf Venus with a little too much natural affection, Waldemar Januszczak may not be the most endearing of narrators, but it is testament to the success of Channel 4's series that you will be compelled to continue watching despite him.
As a student with long hours in the day in which to procrastinate I occasionally find myself trawling the 4OD archives for something interesting to watch. If I can in some way convince myself that it has enriched my studies, even better! (This programme gave me all kinds of satisfying excuses by teaching me about the Willendorf Venus, and other prehistoric art forms!) With 'The Sculpture Diaries' I pride myself on having discovered a hidden, or at least forgotten, gem. In three parts, the diaries are an introduction to sculpture throughout history and across the world. It becomes a kind of travel documentary, in which sculpture features as the magnetic centre. The programmes are collected in to themes which have great potential to stir the imagination of the viewer to further explorations. The first is about women in sculpture, the second on power and sculpture and the third and final (and best of all) is about Land Art.
Sculpture is, I feel, the neglected art form. Associated with endless and unrelenting nudes in the cold halls of galleries, sculpture is misunderstood! Waldemar's programme will introduce you to the potent and profound possibilities of sculpture and to its existing monumental future in Land Art. If you are not sure what I mean by Land Art or you can't imagine how it might be exciting type Spiral Jetty, or Sun Tunnels, or Nascar lines in to google for a scintillating taster. Or do one better and devote three hours of your life to brilliant and worthwhile telly!
Oh yes, and it also has a fabulously rousing soundtrack...
On the subject of Land Art, I did wish Waldemar had taken a little time out of his travels round the deserts of the USA to mention Ian Hamilton Finlay's Little Sparta, a hidden gem on our own doorstep, an entire sculptural world lying just outside of Edinburgh.