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Discover & Research

Research fellows 2015

Each year our fellowship programme enables artists and researchers to develop their work.

In 2015 our visiting fellows included Jessica Barker, Kate Sloan, Rebecca Wade, Paul Brobbel, Diana Campbell Betancourt, Jay Curley, Jo Melvin, Kirsi Peltomäki and Rosemary Shirley.

Jessica Barker

The Courtauld Institute of Art

Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship

Experiencing Tomb Sculpture in Medieval Europe

Funerary monuments are essential to our understanding of sculpture in the medieval period. Tomb monuments were a form of sculpture in which broad sections of medieval society participated, whether through commissioning a memorial, being depicted on one, or seeing tombs in their local church. Studies of medieval monuments have tended to focus on the process of creation, examining issues of patronage, manufacture and dating.

This project seeks to understand and characterise tomb sculpture from a different perspective: the interaction between the monument and the viewer. Exploring issues such as visibility, time, emotion and sound, Dr Jessica Barker will consider the ways in which funerary sculpture sought to condition particular responses from the viewer. Her project will also examine images of medieval tomb sculpture (drawings, engravings, photographs and digital models) from c. 1700 to the present day, considering how these reproductions affect our perception and experience of the memorials themselves.

Kate Sloan

University of Edinburgh

Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship

Radical Pedagogies in Post-War British Art

Dr Kate Sloan’s project will investigate radical visual arts pedagogies in the post-war era in Britain. She will be examining the instrumental presence of system, cybernetic and network theories in the art school and also exploring the highly conceptual use of sculptural objects within the curriculum. The project will culminate in the production of a book about ‘Groundcourse’, Roy Ascott’s innovative foundation course at Ealing and Ipswich in which students created devices, machines and games which were intended to modify their interactions with different environments and situations. This course, with its exploration of wartime environments and its revolutionary approaches to fine art education was one of the most experimental teaching models of the twentieth century.

In addition, the project will produce a number of articles reassessing the Basic Design movement in art education at Durham and Leeds in a post-war context. Using hitherto unpublished student works of art as well as original interview material with staff and students, these articles will offer exciting new insights into both the teaching and working practices of several British artists, including Eduardo Paolozzi, Richard Hamilton, Tom Hudson and Harry Thubron. With regards to both Groundcourse and Basic Design, the pedagogical models offer fascinating insights into the creative ideologies of the day – a post-war world changed irrevocably by a new age of technology.

Rebecca Wade

Henry Moore Institute

Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship

Domenico Brucciani: Casting the Nineteenth Century

Dr Rebecca Wade is writing a history and a critical analysis of the sculptural practice and plaster casting business of the Anglo-Italian formatore Domenico Brucciani (1814-80) from circa 1840 to 1950.

Brucciani was the principal manufacturer and supplier of plaster casts for art galleries, museums and schools of art in Britain, with a significant role in the establishment of cast collections in North America, Australasia and India. The firm was responsible for the international circulation of reproductions invested with very specific formal and ideological qualities that would inform the display, interpretation and production of sculpture for almost a century.

So important was the business that when it began to struggle during the First World War, a group of eminent artists, architects and museum professionals successfully lobbied for it to be effectively nationalised under the auspices of the Board of Education. The operation was transferred to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1921, where it continued for another thirty years.

Based at the Henry Moore Institute, Rebecca’s fellowship will culminate with the exhibition Object Lessons, opening in Gallery 4 on 30 September 2015, with an associated conference on 3 October 2015. Beginning with the concrete object, direct experience and observation, ‘object lessons’ provided a mode of encountering the world through form, material and process. Conceived as a mode of elementary education, the idea that objects had intrinsic instructive potential came to characterise nineteenth-century approaches to the ways in which sculpture was taught, collected and displayed. A Victorian box of object lessons forms the centrepiece of the exhibition, containing an encyclopaedia of natural and manufactured specimens carefully selected to produce knowledge through sensory perception.

Paul Brobbel

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre, New Plymouth, New Zealand

Research Fellowship

Len Lye and Modern Sculpture

Paul Brobbel will research Modern European sculpture in relation to the work of the New Zealand-born American filmmaker and sculptor Len Lye (1901-80).

Particular focus will be given to the artist’s reception of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Constantin Brâncuși during his formative years living in New Zealand and Australia, and his subsequent membership of the Seven & Five Society between 1928 and 1934.

Diana Campbell Betancourt

Samdani Art Foundation / Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh

Research Fellowship

A history of sculpture parks

Diana Betancourt will study the history of sculpture parks, and look into the proposal process for commissions within these sites.

Betancourt is interested in failed proposals, especially those of female artists who historically may have been overlooked or dismissed based on their gender. In contemporary sculpture parks, there is a movement of recreating works posthumously, even works that were never realised within the lifetime of the artist.

What are the ethics of bringing a sculpture to life after an artist’s death? This research will inform the development of Fatehpur, Bangladesh’s first public sculpture park.

Jay Curley

Wake Forest University, North Carolina

Research Fellowship

Hybrid Objects: Post-war British Sculpture between America and Europe

Jay Curley’s book proposes a new model for understanding post-war British sculpture, arguing for a model that accounts for its simultaneous independence from and interdependence on European and American models.

Whether Anthony Caro and British Pop sculptors working between Britain and America or Barry Flanagan and Tony Cragg between Britain and Europe, Curley’s project will conceptualise the interstitial position of post-war British artists. Such a condition allows them to play in the field of post-war modernism, liberating and adapting its forms for specifically British needs.

Jo Melvin

Chelsea College of Arts

Research Fellowship

Christine Kozlov: Information

Dr Jo Melvin will be working with the Institute on our winter 2015 exhibition Christine Kozlov: Information. Christine Kozlov (1945–2005) questioned how objects are used to communicate information. This first posthumous presentation considers information as sculptural material through artworks and archival material. Using films, tapes, photographs and texts Kozlov examined the limits of documentation.

Supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art, and with our Exhibitions and Displays Curator Pavel S. Pyś, Dr Melvin will be conducting a series of interviews with artists who came in contact with Kozlov.

This research will lead to a text published in issue 74 of our journal Essays on Sculpture that is dedicated to Kozlov, and a lecture during the exhibition.

Kirsi Peltomäki

Oregon State University

Research Fellowship

Post-war Modernism, Experience, and Individuation: Anthony Caro and the New Generation

British sculpture in the 1960s, in particular the work of Anthony Caro, was associated with the post-war Modernism formulated by critics Clement Greenberg and Michael Fried. Yet the critical debates around the work of Caro and the New Generation sculptors also levied pressure on the Greenbergian paradigm by foregrounding the experiential dimension of viewing encounters, demonstrating how critical and artistic investments in the Modernist art object became entangled with new ideas about the individual as well as perception, materiality, narrative, and experience.

Peltomäki’s research project seeks to understand how these notions of experientiality related to local context, and to analyse how models of experientiality and individuation were configured into both canonical and vernacular art criticism.

Rosemary Shirley

Manchester Metropolitan University

Research Fellowship

Quick Perspectives on the Future: Rural Modernity and British Sculpture 1930s-1960s

Rosemary Shirley will investigate the relationship between British Sculpture of the 1930s-1960s and aspects of rural modernity during this period. Specifically she is interested in the visual correspondences between dramatic interventions in the rural landscape at this time, such as the installation of electricity pylons, radio and television transmitters and the accompanying ‘wirescape’, and sculptural practices such as the use of networks of string to describe space and volume and steel lattice constructed forms.

This interdisciplinary project will offer alternative ways of thinking the relationship between sculpture and landscape, while at the same time generating different perspectives on aspects of rural modernity.

Previous Research Fellows

Find out more about previous research fellows and their projects.