This fantastically evocative sculpture by Zenos Frudakis also simply known as ‘Freedom’ is a statement about the struggle for achievement of freedom through the creative process. It depicts a human figure evolving and emerging from cocoon-like beginnings in a wall, until three iterations later it runs free, arms aloft across the pavement.
Zenos’ father was born in Greece, emigrating to the US as a young boy. As the oldest of 5 children, Zenos, born in 1951 in San Francisco to Greek musician and poet Vasilis Frudakis and Kassiani Alexis was raised in Wheeling, West Virginia and Gary, Indiana where he worked in the steel mills. Surrounded by Greek culture, Zenos was drawn to Greek sculpture.
This piece, in bronze is 20 feet long and 8 feet high and was unveiled at the GSK World Headquarters in 2001.
Zenos himself is based in Philadelphia and explains a little of how he created this sculpture;
I began this work in a very traditional sculptural manner by creating a small model in clay called a macquette. The purpose of beginning in this manner is to capture the large action and major proportions of the figure within the overall design without any details to detract from the big idea.
The macquette is the original mass of clay where a concept is born and from which it grows and develops. This was important later when I enlarged the sculpture from several inches long to 20 feet long.
Although there are four figures represented, the work is really one figure moving from left to right. The composition develops from left to right beginning with a kind of mummy/death like captive figure locked into its background. In the second frame, the figure, reminiscent of Michaelangelo’s Rebellious Slave, begins to stir and struggle to escape. The figure in the third frame has torn himself from the wall that held him captive and is stepping out, reaching for freedom. In the fourth frame, the figure is entirely free, victorious, arms outstretched, completely away from the wall and from the grave space he left behind. He evokes an escape from his own mortality.
I have hidden many things in the background for people who see the sculpture more than once to discover, such as a cast of coins – a nickel and two pennies, another nickel and two pennies, and two quarters and a penny. These represent not only the relationship between money and art, but the numerals 7-7-51, my birth date.