Robert
Perless
Year created: 
1992
Robert Perless, Möbius, 1992

Robert Perless, Möbius, 1992
8’4” x 8’4” x 8’4”, Stainless steel and prisms
Private Collection, New York

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23’ 4” in diameter

Stainless steel and prisms
Private Collection, New York
Exhibit Date: 
On View Jul 17, 2015 - Aug 01, 2017

A union of art, science, and engineering, Robert Perless’ Möbius reveals and transforms energy from the natural world, specifically light. The sculpture comprises a triangulation of elongated prisms joined together by stainless steel joints. When light strikes the prisms, it refracts into rainbows, thus dissolving the clear boundaries between the sculpted object and its surrounding environment. The sleek and minimal aesthetic of Perless’s sculptures recalls space-age design of the 1960s, and a number of his works have titles related to astronomical observation and flight. Many of Perless’s sculptures, including Möbius, are interactive and can be moved by participants or rotate with the wind. These aerodynamic and wind-responsive pieces relate to the artist’s extensive experience of sailing on the ocean.

Robert Perless has been creating large-scale sculptures since the 1970s and began working with prisms in 1990. Trained as an engineer, he is best known for strikingly grand and graceful large-scale sculptures made from industrial materials. As the title of Möbius indicates, the sculpture forms a möbius strip or band, a formation that mathematicians use to describe a surface with only one boundary. The fluid shape is without distinctive interior or exterior, nor has a clear beginning and end. Constructivist artists of the early to mid-twentieth century, such as Swiss-born Max Bill, became particularly inspired by möbius bands in their pursuit of pure abstraction based on deceptively simple mathematical and geometric forms. Perless acknowledges the influence of Constructivist practices on his own work and is also often associated with the Kinetic art movement that emerged in America during the 1960s and 1970s.

Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1938, Perless studied Art and Engineering at the University of Miami, FL. Perless has worked on numerous public and corporate commissions including sculptures for Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, City of Palm Desert, Civic Center, Palm Desert, California, the City of Corpus Christi, Texas, and Avon Corporation, New York, NY. His work is in the permanent collections including the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.