Tim Marlow on Henry Moore

the most famous british sculpture, very important in the evolution of art in the 20th century. Won the Venice Bienale. Shifted from stautes to all sorts of objects wshich come from the landscape. MEans his work is hard to understand as it is seen in modern urbanised places.

His roots were underneath the landscape, seventh of eight children, son of a miner. Got a scholarship to the Royal School of Art in London. Moore works in a farmhouse, does at 88, in 1986. Moore sets up foundation which continues his legacy after his death.

Themes: Reclining female form, some of his works abstract, some are more obviously figurative. Mother and child. Classicism burns bright because of his want to be a sculptor. Classicism is also a benchmark, a problem which should be moved away from. Moves away from westwern art history, encaptured by mexican art. Static and strong like mountains.

Pieces are very ambiguous, landscape figures and still lifes are shown at the same time. And he was one of the first artists to represent landscape in sculpture. He references the human body and archways which can be seen as legs as to imply our closeness and important relationship with the environment.

He made many maquettes in his house which would then be scaled up by Moore and his assistants. Then the sculptures would be cast, more regularly in bronze but occassionally in fibreglass. Radical visions inspired by one of Mooores’s heroes, Picasso. Combines abstraction with realism.

Monuments war and antiwar: fragility of man shown in his male figure pieces and sometimes warrior pieces. (Very few out of the 1000 sculptures he created in his life) Personal trauma can also be interpreted from these works.

Shells, bones and plinths can be seen as starting points to many of Moores sculptures.

Monolith cast in bronze: The pagoda. NAtural rhythm only becomes apparent once you walk round it, one side is smooth and blank, the other encases a figure and a child. An embryonic form maybe even implied in the sculkpture. He wanted the piece to be in wood, where he wants the natural quality, this shows his experimentation in different media.

Interested in totem poles. Architecture also plays a vital role. The idea of getting in a sculpture did not exist before Moore. Simplistic forms which later inspires his apprentice, Caro. This architecture inspired work kind of moves towards pop art and found objects. The holes in some of the pieces can frame the backdrop.

Antony Caro – assistant to Moore. Met him in the Royal Academy schools, taight by the people who made sculpture around london. He was wondering if there was more to sculpture. Learnt so much from Moore, he had a library on so many many books. Surrealism was opened to Caro along with other types of art. Perspective, light, he would make sculptures and Moore would help teach him. Steel sculptures that Caro makes stands against Moore. A continuation of cubism, whereas Moore was ending a sculpture movement. Caro saw it as a broken thing rather than a solid thing. This follows cubism. Moore likes some things, but hates the steel objects. Henry has the ability to understand placing of sculptures.

Moore likes Kyoto and Rodin.

Abstract sculpture in a public place was a huge thing which Moore brought on. He should be remembered as a great artist, popular amongst the world and knows what he has done.


Author: gordondouglas

Performance artist and curator based in Glasgow, Scotland.

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