Henry Moore working in the Maquette Studio, 1960. Photo: John Hedgecoe. Courtesy of The Henry Moore Foundation
“Henry Moore: Wunderkammer – Origin of Forms” at Gagosian London
Gagosian London is pleased to present “Henry Moore: Wunderkammer – Origin of Forms,” curated by Richard Calvocoressi, Director of The Henry Moore Foundation. A giant of modern sculpture, Moore engaged the abstract, the surreal, the primitive and the classical in vigorous corporeal forms that are as accessible and familiar as they are avant-garde. His large-scale works celebrate the power of organic imagery at a time when traditional representation was largely eschewed by the vanguard art establishment. Their overwhelming physicality and forceful presence promotes a charged relation between sculpture, site, and viewer.
Henry Moore, Relief No.1, 1959. Courtesy of The Henry Moore Foundation
This special exhibition explores the origins and processes behind Moore’s sculptures by recreating his maquette studio at Perry Green – now home to The Henry Moore Foundation – at the Davies Street gallery. His Wunderkammer of natural stones, shells, bones, animal skulls, and other found objects will be presented alongside the drawings and sculptural maquettes that they inspired, demonstrating the metamorphosis from nature to sculpture, from inanimate object to human or animal form, that was the impetus of his oeuvre.
Henry Moore, Upright Motive No. 9, 1979. Courtesy of Phil Masters
In counterpoint to this intimate exhibition drawn from Moore‘s working processes, two monumental bronze sculptures Relief No. 1 (1959) and Upright Motive No. 9 (1979) will be installed in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, from February 9–May 29, 2015. Over two metres high, Relief No.1 (1959) grew out of the maquettes Moore made in 1955 for his brick Wall Relief, commissioned by the Bouwcentrum in Rotterdam. Four of these maquettes are included in the present exhibition. Moore wished to emphasise the forceful, projectional qualities of relief as opposed to using it pictorially, as in the narrative friezes of Renaissance sculpture.
Henry Moore, Wall Relief No.1, Rotterdam, 1955. Courtesy of Maurice Dumas
Thus the head and shoulders, torso, and legs of the figure are composed in three distinct parts, with the protruding umbilicus and receding chest exaggerated for expressive strength. The Upright Motives also have their origin in Moore‘s maquettes for the Bouwcentrum Wall Relief. They are among his most powerful and affecting monuments – part biomorph, part machine; among many other things, a fusion of totem pole and crucifix. Upright Motive No.9 (1979), based on a maquette of 1968, is the most figurative in the series, in which an architectural column appears to metamorphose into a female form.