Ground-breaking exhibition pairs two giants from world of sculpture

2013-03-20 17:32:42 GMT2013-03-21 01:32:42(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

LONDON, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Two of the most renowned sculptors of the past 200 years have been paired in an exhibition opening this month at the Henry Moore Foundation.

The Foundation's exhibition looks at Moore and the 19th century French sculptor Auguste Rodin at its gallery and gardens in the village of Perry Green, 45 kilometers from London.

Works exhibited include monumental pieces from the Foundation's own collection, and loans from the Musee Rodin in Paris and from public collections in Britain.

"They are the most seminal modern sculptures. If you think who is the sculptor of the 19th century you would say Rodin; who is the sculptor of the 20th century you would probably say Henry Moore," said Anita Feldman, the exhibition's curator.

Moore, born in 1898 in Castleford in the north of England, worked throughout most of the 20th century until his death in 1986. The Foundation is funded by money Moore earned from his work and is based at his home in Perry Green, where he lived for over 40 years.

Feldman said throughout his career Moore was looking at the art from other cultures including Chinese art, pre-Columbian art and African art.

"He is very interested in the whole sculptural language of the form, where ever it comes from," she said.

Moore was inspired by the forms of nature more than anything else, said Feldman.

"Every sculpture of Moore's you see, no matter how abstract, comes from a found object, stones, sea shells and so on," she said.


Both Moore and Rodin were interested in scale, how something very small could be made to look big, how you could change the size of something and put it in the landscape.

Moore's "The Arch," an abstract arch in bronze about 3 meters high, is paired with Rodin's "Jean d'Aire," a monumental nude in bronze from 1889 that was a model of one of his "Burghers of Calais."

"There is a tension underneath the surface of Jean d'Aire's very tense body, this is paired with Moore's arch which is very abstract in its feel, but it has the same kind of pressure of skin over bone. Both are also monumental in feel, powerful forms," Feldman said.

Similar pairings are a feature throughout the exhibition, highlighting their mutual interest in condensation and fragmentation of the figure, which runs in parallel with a fundamental understanding of the body's internal structure and an ability to capture this on the surface.

Some of Moore's works were toured across China in a year-long visit by the Foundation, with shows in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Beijing in 2001 with a semi-permanent exhibition in Beijing's Beihai Park.

One of the things that both Moore and Rodin share with Chinese art is an interest in the landscape.

"Both Moore and Rodin have a real engagement with landscape in two ways; first, siting their sculptures in landscape so that they have a dialogue with the forms of nature and also in the forms themselves because you have figures with rock formations and so on," Feldman explained.

She added: "In Chinese painting for example the rock formation is so important. With both Moore and Rodin you have this real interest in the connectivity of man with nature, with Rodin the figures are emerging out of rocks, while with Moore there is a complete dissolving of the boundaries of man and nature so that they are one and the same thing. It's a progression from Rodin's studies."

The Moore/Rodin exhibition runs at Perry Green until the end of October.

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