Through “The Smuggler`s Head” and several other sculptures including “The Wander”, “Future Fossils” and “Belfast Handshake”, Sander investigated the potentials of the empty space in sculpture. This new form of sculptural installation can be experienced as three-dimensional morphing of the empty space as the viewer moves in relation to the artefact. The sculptural method literally represents the absence of persons or events, through shaping emptiness in situ within the geographic location. Usually the positive space is the focus of an artefact. However, it is common knowledge in visual arts that the negative space is just as important as the positive. The void shares edges with the positive space, defining the outline of the object and creating proportion and it blurs the borders between the material and the immaterial world. In sculpture as well as in graphic design and painting, negative figures or spaces are usually only present as outlines. However, three-dimensional transformation of the void trough the movement of the viewer is new in sculpture. This adds a further metaphorical context to the absent monument and brings a new form to the expanding field of sculpture. This method also allows the material object to blend better into the chosen location. The Smuggler`s head for example seems to be a natural part of the landscape until you discover the immaterial portrait in the space between the two objects. This new approach in public sculpture gained international recognition through successful selection in prestigious competitions, reaching shortlist and implementation. It has been applied and further developed in for example: the 2nd phase of ‘A shared Dream’ Human Rights and the Cyrus Cylinder, Los Angeles, California, USA; ‘The Wanderer’ and ‘Future Fossils’ in the Republic of Ireland and ‘The Belfast Handshake’ in the UK.
Reference text: http://www.visitmournemountains.co.uk/Visitor-Information/Public-Art