Friday 4 September 2015

Barbara Hepworth: Representing the Work and the Self through Photography

Barbara Hepworth: Representing the Work and the Self through Photography

Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World
Tate Britain
24 June – 25 October 2015

Hepworth in Yorkshire
The Hepworth Wakefield
16 May – 6 September 2015

A Greater Freedom: Hepworth 1965-1975
The Hepworth Wakefield
18 April 2015 – April 2016

Much as I love looking at the sculptural work of Barbara Hepworth (1903-75), I also love looking at photographs and film footage of the sculptor herself, both at rest and, even more so, at work. Perhaps this quote, from the mouth of the artist herself in 1961, goes some way towards explaining this predeliction: “I, the sculptor, am the landscape. I am the form and I am the hollow, the thrust and the contour.”

This summer sees three shows dedicated to the sculptor: Penelope Curtis’s final offering at Tate Britain and two smaller, but equally rigorous and delightful, exhibitions at the Hepworth Wakefield, home to the Hepworth Family Gift, a collection of 44 of the artist’s surviving working models for her bronze sculptures.

While Tate’s exhibition unsurprisingly largely comprises sculpture, it dedicates one worthy section – Staging Sculpture – to photographs taken by both Hepworth and others, showing her work in the landscape. Many of these, including a series of photo-collages, cutting out photographs of existing sculptures and pasting them on to new backdrops, including a house designed by Richard Neutra in Los Angeles and the interior of flats designed by Alfred and Emil Roth and Marcel Breuer in Zurich, have never been shown before, except for when published in Architectural Review in April 1939. Fired by her ambition to work on a larger scale, Hepworth made these composite images to show how her work might enrich an architectural or natural setting. Photography enabled her to explore such sculptural ideas and only partly came out of economic necessity.

You can read the rest of this essay here

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