Friday, 25 March 2011

Modern British Sculpture Exhibition

I went to the Royal Academy yesterday to see the Modern British Sculpture Exhibition.  I had heard very varied and mostly negative comments about it from people who had been to see it and was not expecting to like it a great deal.  It goes to show you should never take any notice of anyone else's opinions and you should always go to see something and form your own. 

This was a great exhibition of sculpture from 1900 to the present day. It was very well curated; in the second room they showed ancient art in juxtaposition to contemporarty work in order to show where inspiration had come from for various pieces;.  It was in near enough chronological in order, thus emphasizing the temporal development of abstraction in sculpture.  It was not comprehensive in that there was limited space and there were mainly small works, with a few exceptions.  Some foreign artists who had spent time in Britain were shown where they were relevant to the development of British sculpture. 

I loved the more contemporary works but I couldn't really sketch them.  I would need to go back and spend more time there; I may if I can find the time before it closes on April 7th.

A great piece which I could not have sketched was Environmental Construction by Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton as exhibited in 1957.  A wonderful piece of perspex sheets coloured and clear hanging vertically and horizontally from fine steel wires.  This gives a real feeling of contained space; you just have to experience it to appreciate it fully.

Another piece I loved was "Stack" (2011) by Tony Cragg.  This was a huge cube of layers of "stuff" inculding matress, cardboard, cards of threads, old bowls and all sorts of waste and rubbish; the detritus of living sandwiched very neatly between, what appeared to be pieces of wooden pallet. It was like a piece of archaeology.

I did some very quick sketches of some pieces I particularly liked to remind me when I returned home.  I sometimes work these up from memory, by referring to these, in a larger sketchbook if I feel like it, or if they are relevant to work I am doing.


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