Wagon Wheel is a work with a fundamental dynamism that derives both from the rotating movement of the elements suspended on poles and the kicking of the legs of the figure. It is based on a pornographic image by Giulio Romano (ca.1499-1546). Romano had completed Raphael’s frescos in the Vatican after the latter’s death but was not paid for the work. Ziegler relates how in revenge Romano drew pornographic images on the buildings of the Vatican. The Pope erased them but Marcantonio Raimondi (ca. 1480-1534) turned the images into prints, a series called « I Modi », which were widely circulated in Rome and for which he was jailed. The Pope, realising they brought him into disrepute, gathered them all together and destroyed them. Other artists had copied them, however, and such copies exist in the British Museum.
Wagon Wheel is the first sculpture of the figure that Ziegler made. He has since moved into figurative painting but he states that he could not have done this without making sculpture first. He believes this particular work is crucial to that development. It was inspired not only by the Romano prints, but also by seeing a sculpture of hands by Rodin. He feels that most of Rodin’s sculptures are too complete for him to be able to work off them. But the sculpture of a hand fired his imagination because of its incompleteness.
Wagon Wheel also relates to the sculpture of Ancient Greece which is frequently displayed as a compilation of fragments, with armatures supporting disparate parts and acting as surrogate limbs or body parts.
Toby Ziegler is a British artist whose work first came to view in an exhibition called Expander in 2004. His paintings are based on photographs that he digitally manipulates to render them more abstract. His sculptures are closer to being figures and it is in a figurative direction that his painting is now going. These sculptures, therefore, are important transitional works.
Most of Ziegler's sculptures are made out of cardboard or paper and covered in numerals which he employs to piece them together. Like the paintings, the sculptures emanate from digital images. He uses computer-aided design to generate line drawings and then, with scissors and glue, pieces them together. The forms of his sculptures have a relationship to Cubism, whose spatial complexity Ziegler admires, and perhaps also De Kooning for their sexual overtones. The numerals make oblique reference to his father's mania for indexing and cataloguing but are also used in scaling up the works.
Toby Ziegelr was born in 1972 in London. He lives and works in London.