Friday, 4 March 2011

Modern British Sculpture

I spent a day away from the workshop on Tuesday, visiting the Modern British Sculpture exhibition at the RA, and try to be disciplined in making these occasional expeditions, as they are a great tonic.   I love the train journey filled with expectation.

The exhibition was set out in twelve different rooms, each having their own focus.  The intention of the curators Penelope Curtis and Keith Wilson was to address a specific problem, aspiration or confrontation experienced by sculptors during the twentieth century - questioning: What is British? What is Modern?  What is sculpture?

The most exciting area for me was the 'Theft by Finding' room - through the dark walled, dimly lit space, came illuminated icons from a wide variety of cultures and ancient fragments brimming with aesthetic power and beauty, and beside them work of British sculptors influenced by these pieces.

Forepart of a running leopard - Halicarnassus - marble c.350 bc

Sanchi Torso - India - red sandstone  c.900

Duck Weight - Neo-Sumerian - Granite C. 21500-2000 bc

Seated Torso - Frank Dobson - Ham Hill stone - 1923

Angel (hand), Angel (wing) - Ivan Mestrovic - Walnut - 1916

My eyes saturated and mind full of sculpture I made my way back to Kings Cross, and was unaware of the journey home - pondering, creating, feeling inspired, motivated, so alive and awake.

I've learned quite a lot from this exhibition, and I'm already organising my next trip - a lot of the pieces I loved were borrowed from the British Museum, and I must make another visit there.


  1. These 'imput' experiences are so important, and I know what you mean by feeling super-awake after seeing so much inspiration - more proof that the brain and body and spirit are all linked together inextricably.

  2. The magic is when they all come together to help release all those inspirational goodies in your own personal, individual way - just clean and pure - highly intoxicating!

  3. Glad you enjoyed the exhibition Jennifer. Sculpture is quite fascinating to those of us who don't practice it. Those angels (wing and hands) are quite exquisite. I am thinking Eric Gill style - very contemporary. They could have been carved yesterday. I don't get up to London as often as I would like but when I do go, I wanting to cram as much inspiration in as I can - along with the odd bookshop or two.


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