Who was the Philadelphia Wireman? No one really knows. A street sculptor who did not seem to make himself known. Wireman or perhaps Wirewoman belongs to the category Outsider Art. 1200 of her sculptures were found on Juniper Street in the late 1970s. A street that served as a kind of studio where he went and collected work materials such as nuts, nails, caps, corks, paper with advertising prints, etc. A hot rumor was that he was an African American man. Robert Farris Thompson, professor of art history at Yale University, has in exhibitions and through the books he has written devoted himself to trying to understand ideas and art forms in the African-American culture that may have originated in Africa. He has drawn attention to Philadelhia Wireman’s sculptures for their resemblance to minkisi from Congo. The knots wrapped in steel wire fit well in the hand and have a resemblance to wrapped knots, a kind of container, where the power is derived from ancestors and spirits. Other human-like Minkisi were charged with force which was released by nails being driven through them. A Wireman can contain several nails that are often driven in diagonally through the sculpture’s “body”. Power and energy are a common theme. You can find both batteries, light bulbs and the word “light” in several of them. Some of them do not reveal their contents and are closed like mummies. ”
Of the enigmatic little Wiremen sculptures, 65 were shown at Södertälje Art Gallery, something that aroused great astonishment among the audience. Who was this inventive creative man really?
Catalog: PHILADELPHIA WIREMAN quote: Maarit Nilsson Polet curator / art teacher p. 4