The ‘Walk Through British Art’ exhibition comprised of British art ranging from 1540’s right up until the 21st century. As the name suggests you are able to start at one end and walk through each room following the artwork in roughly chronological order. Seeing art laid out this way, lead me to reflect on the evolution of art and the differences century to century. The starkest of these differences was between the 19th and 20th centuries where the art became much more abstract. There also seemed to be a correlation between date and quantity with half the exhibition taken up by the 20th-century artwork.
There was a whole room dedicated to Henry Moore’s sculptures and situated on a plinth in the centre of this room is ‘Reclining Figure’. It depicts what looks like a woman, judging by the protuberance on her chest, lying propped up by both elbows. What made the piece stand out among the other sculptures was the contrast between the dark lines on the lighter plaster. They make the piece look as though it is made from separate chunks and gives it an almost space-age look. I discovered later that Moore himself singled it out as one of his most important sculptures saying that it was the ‘first sculpture in which I succeeded in making form and space sculpturally inseparable’ (Christie’s, 2016).
Having an exhibition laid out in chronological order helped me to understand art and art styles with respect to history. There seemed to be an evolution in painting starting in two dimensions moving into perspective and three dimensions and finally to abstraction. It made me wonder what people a few hundred years ago would think of a sculpture like Reclining Figure, is abstraction attractive to only the modern sentiment or is it just a more recent discovery?
Christie’s, © (2016) ‘“My highlight of 2016” — Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure: Festival’. Review of by Robert Brown. Available at: https://tinyurl.com/k6d4yjw (Accessed: 9 February 2017).
Moore, H. (1951). Reclining Figure. [Plaster and string] London: Tate.
Tate (1951) Reclining figure, Henry Moore OM, CH 1951 | Tate Available at: https://tinyurl.com/kn4h3n5 (Accessed: 16 February 2017).