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Sculpture Photographed: A View from the Archive of Sculptors’ Papers

Archive Gallery

Leeds Art Gallery, UK

Free Entry

This display explores the role played by photography across the history and practice of sculpture from the late-nineteenth century to the present day.

Sculpture and photography have existed in close proximity ever since the birth of photography in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Sculpture was one of the first subjects to be photographed, in part on account of its immobility which proved ideal for the long exposure times required for the early photographic processes and the suitability of white plaster and marble for a black and white medium.

It has remained an important subject throughout photographic history, utilised by some of the most well-known photographers over the past 150 years, from William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-77) to Walker Evans (1903-75). Throughout this time photography has continued to influence the conception, process, documentation, marketing, display and reception of sculpture.

Sculptors have not only collaborated with photographers but have themselves experimented with photographic techniques in the creation and documentation of artworks, including the use of camera-less photography, Polaroids, collage and montage.

From offering an insight into the largely unseen processes of bronze casting in foundries, to charting the journey of monuments from foundry to public siting, photography has been used to document the lives of sculptures in their circulation across the globe.

The archiving function of photography now also provides a record of what no longer survives, as in the case of sculptures commissioned for temporary events, exhibitions or site-specific installations.

Sculpture Photographed presents photographs, posters and printed material alongside maquettes, medallic portraits and objects from installations. It reveals the varying ways that sculptors have harnessed photography in the production and dissemination of their works, while photography has in turn re-examined and provided new interpretations of sculptures, both old and new.

Main image: Bernard Schottlander, Untitled (Red) 1972 outside the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. Courtesy the Estate of Bernard Schottlander and Leeds Museums and Galleries (Archive of Sculptors’ Papers).

Sculptors’ Papers from the Henry Moore Institute Archive

This publication traces the journey a sculpture takes from conception to public reception, using artists’ personal papers, working notes, sketches, press cuttings and photographic documentation.

The featured archive collections include Jacob Epstein (Sculptures for the British Medical Association Building, 1908); Neal White (The Third Campaign 2004); Alfred Hardiman (Earl Haig Monument 1928-37); Oscar Nemon (Temple of Universal Ethics 1938); Laurence Bradshaw (Karl Marx Memorial 1956); Rose Finn-Kelcey (Power For The People 1972); and Paul Neagu (Starhead 1986)

Product details:
40 pages
230 x 170mm

Buy Sculptors’ Papers from the Henry Moore Institute Archive (Essays on Sculpture issue 71)

City Sculpture Projects 1972

Published to accompany our exhibition City Sculpture Project 1972, this issue of Essays on Sculpture delves into the complicated story of a public sculpture experiment that brought art into daily urban life.

Product details:
230 x 170mm

Buy City Sculpture Projects 1972 (Essays on Sculpture issue 76)

About the Archive Gallery

The Archive Gallery is a designated space to explore material from the Archive of Sculptors’ Papers, alongside works from the Leeds Sculpture Collections.

The Archive began in 1982 when the long-standing partnership between the Henry Moore Foundation and Leeds City Council led to the creation of the Henry Moore Centre for the Study of Sculpture within Leeds Art Gallery. The Centre, which was based in what is now the Archive Gallery and Mezzanine, sought to build and develop the existing sculpture collections. It also enabled the acquisition of works on paper, preparatory and archive material that could tell the story of the evolution of sculptural practice in Britain.

Since 1993 the Archive has been based at the Henry Moore Institute. Over the past four decades, it has contributed to numerous research studies, fellowships, publications, artistic interventions and exhibitions around the world. With over 330 collections, this unique research facility contains a wealth of material relating to sculpture in Britain, from the eighteenth century to the present day. The working lives of hundreds of sculptors are captured through photographs, correspondence and sketchbooks, alongside film, digital records and even tools and costumes. The Archive also holds material relating to the businesses and institutions involved in sculptural practice, ranging from foundries to public art commissioners. Together with the related collections of maquettes, models, works on paper and library holdings, it aims to represent sculpture across its different manifestations and forms of production.

Getting here

This exhibition is located in the Archive Gallery in Leeds Art Gallery, which is accessible by crossing the bridge link from the Henry Moore Institute.

Leeds Art Gallery

The Headrow

United Kingdom

T:  0113 378 5350