Matthew Simmonds is a Copenhagen-based artist who carves miniature basilicas, rotundas, pillars, and passages from marble and stone. We first discovered his stunning craftsmanship in 2014 and took note of his masterful art–a combination of the skills he acquired as a professional carver and his continuing interest in sacred stone buildings that dates back to childhood. With care and precision, he uses the conventional commandments of architecture to explore the thematic implications of different sculptural forms.
Simmonds' pieces range from modern, clean-lined caverns to more ornate church-like chambers. He experiments with his materials as well, whittling with varied tones and textures of earth-made mineral matter. Each edifice is strongly informed by shifts in viewpoint and light–different angles expose different details to define the small spaces.
There is something soothing about the sculptures, suggesting, perhaps, that we can see situations more clearly when we scale them down for a well-rounded perspective. Or perhaps it's that the empty architectures appear like safe, smooth havens nestled into craggy rocks, resembling sacred hidden vaults we might retreat inside for quiet solace. Simmonds reimagines the sorts of staggering spaces that typically invoke a sense of mortal smallness, making them feel more manageable but no less majestic, thus calling into question the relationship between nature and human initiative.
All images via Matthew Simmonds.