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24 September 2014
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A chair sculpture
Allen Jones' Chair (c) Carl Rose

From Moore to Gormley

By Ali Davies
This Tate exhibition at Millennium Galleries in Sheffield is one not to miss - featuring work from the finest contemporary names in sculpting. The human figure from Moore to Gormley is a must see exhibit...

This exciting exhibition focuses on the human form from the most influential sculptors over the last 50 years. 

It has a flexible approach to how the sculptures are displayed, although the works are loosely organized chronologically there is more of an emphasis on artists working with similar styles and ideas.

There are 20 major works by renowned masters such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, alongside contemporary artists such as Sarah Lucas, Ron Mueck and Antony Gormley.

Moore's King and Queen
King and Queen from 1957 - (c) Tate Gallery

It also includes video sculpture or 'living sculptures' from Gilbert and George and photography by Keith Arnatt.

There is a wide variety of material being utilized; bronze, stone, fibreglass, silicon, polyurethane, rubber and even a pair of tights.

In Moore's creation, King and Queen, the artist has combined naturalistic elements such as hands and feet with more abstracted ones such as the head.

Ron Muerk's "Ghost", an oversized 7ft teenage girl, awkwardly stands against the wall, her gawky stance and size embodying adolescent anxiety.

Mark Quinn's haunting "No Visible Means of Escape" is a hollow polyurethane rubber cast of Quinn's naked body, split up to the neck; it is blood red, the rubber has dried dripping, as if it has been burnt.

Quinn says he is trying to capture "a violent shedding of skin". Quinn has a history of working with graphic subject matter, for his work "Self" Quinn had eight pints of blood taken from him over a period of five months. The blood was then poured into a negative mould of the artist's head, and frozen.

Sarah Lucas makes a witty and subversive comment with her sculpture, "Pauline Bunny"; a pair of stuffed tights, sitting spread-eagled on the chair, depicting women as objects of desire.

Some of the works seem almost spiritual, like Antony Gormley's Untitled (for Francis), who says about his work, "I am filling the space within the body."

Sculpture has come a long way from like likes of Michelangelo and Rodin, via the abstract ambiguous sculptures of Brancusi and Hepworth, back to the human form again. 

Although there are some 'realistic' sculptures here, there is a twist on the realism, they are witty, unnerving and sometimes weird.

In short the exhibition is a collection of some of the finest examples of modern sculpture and should not be missed.

last updated: 14/06/06
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