The Five Elements
In 1980, the iconic father of Art Deco and master artist Romain de Tirtoff—better known as Erté—aspired to have his beautiful drawings and paintings realized as
sculpture. Having no sculptural experience, Erté selected Ira Reines, an award-winning young sculptural prodigy whose talent and passion
impressed Erté. Reines collaborated closely with Erté for eleven years, translating the master’s celebrated two-dimensional couture designs into a series of seventy bronze sculptures.
Upon Erté’s passing in 1990, Reines returned to his own sculptural vision exploring the relationship between man and the cosmos, order and chaos and the
sublime divine beauty that arises from it. Over decades of seclusion, meditation and introspection, he evolved the sculpting style known as “Sculptural
Etherealism”—delicate and intricately formed figures of near-perfect beauty, emerging as if in the process of creation, replete with splendor and spirituality
arising from the intricate relationships between order and chaos—beauty born of chaos, form created from formlessness.
Reines’ newest creation The Five Elements or “The Wu Xing” are depicted as: Wood, fire, metal, earth and water. The Wu Xing is the basis for many important aspects of the ancient Chinese culture including traditional medicine, philosophy (including Feng shui), astrology, martial arts, military strategy and political philosophy. In Feng shui, the Wu Xing and the supported interactions between them are at the core of “Qi” (aka “chi”) – The invisible forces that find the universe, earth and humanity together. It is in this context of exploring the relationship between man, nature and the universe that Ira Reines created “The Five Elements” – a suite of five sculptures exemplifying the five Wu Xing elements as female figures of sublime beauty.
• Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England.
• Four Arts Gardens — A 1981 heroic installation of Ira Bruce Reines’ sculpture titled
“Neptune” is part of the collection of this botanical garden in Palm Beach, Florida
• Shanghai Doland Museum of Modern Art
• “Aurora” — Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Spring, NC.