Britain showcases 20th century sculpture greats

19th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain is to hold the first exhibition of its 20th century sculpture for 30 years when a major review opens up at the Royal Academy of Arts in London on Saturday.

The collection of about 120 works brings together famous bronzes by Henry Moore and works by lesser-known artists, throwing them together in contrast.

One room pays tribute to "Adam", the 1939 marble work by Jacob Epstein, considered shocking at the time.

The primitive-looking man with over-sized genitals toured Britain as an obscene curiosity and was shown at a New York peep show before it was recognised a as a masterpiece.

"The exhibition takes a fresh approach, replacing the traditional survey with a provocative set of juxtapositions that challenge the viewer to make new connections and break the mould of old conceptions," the academy said.

"The exhibition provides a view onto modern British sculpture without attempting to be comprehensive or definitive in its treatment of the subject.

"It seeks to highlight certain ways of looking at sculpture by thinking about its relationship with the wider world."

Moore and Barbara Hepworth take centre-stage in the exhibition, as they did during the 20th century in British sculpture.

Moore's undulating, horizontal "Reclining Figure" (1951) is shown in contrast with the upright flat bronze of Hepworth's "Single Form" (1952), created for the United Nations plaza in New York.

Also shown are more modern artists who swapped the traditional bronze and marble for materials such as aluminium, steel and plastic and innovated with colour.

Among the key works on show are Philip King's "Genghis Khan" (1963), Leon Underwood's "Totem to the Artist" (1930), Anthony Caro's "Early One Morning" (1962), Richard Long's "Chalk Line" (1984) and Damien Hirst's "Let's Eat Outdoors Today" (1991).

"Modern British Sculpture" runs from Saturday until April 7. Tickets cost 12 pounds (19.20 dollars, 14.20 euros).

© 2011 AFP

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