Henry Moore. Works on Paper from the Henry Moore Family Collection. The exhibition includes works ranging from Moore's sensitive and sublime studies of the human body to his wartime 'Shelter Drawings' and exploratory 'Ideas for Sculpture', spanning six decades of the artist's career. Hauser & Wirth presents a selection of sculptures by Hans Josephsohn. The exhibition includes artist's half and standing figures as well as his reliefs, a sculptural form that has played a central role throughout Josephsohn's artistic practice.
Henry Moore. Works on Paper from the Henry Moore Family Collection
Hauser & Wirth is delighted to present an extraordinary body of works curated directly with members of the Moore family. 'Works on Paper from the Henry Moore Family Collection' is the gallery's second presentation of works by Henry Moore, following our 2008 exhibition 'Ideas for Sculpture' held at Hauser & Wirth London. The exhibition includes works ranging from Moore's sensitive and sublime studies of the human body to his wartime 'Shelter Drawings' and exploratory 'Ideas for Sculpture', spanning six decades of the artist's career. 'Works on Paper from the Henry Moore Family Collection' provides a rare opportunity to see a group of works that beautifully presents the significance of Moore's drawings in his oeuvre, as well as capturing Moore's skill as an impeccable draughtsman.
Moore once said, 'Drawing from life keeps one visually fit – perhaps acts like water to a plant – and it lessens the danger of repeating oneself and getting into a formula'. Moore used his drawings to evolve pre-existing motifs, working through different approaches and views, trying to find the most exciting display in what developed into a Darwinian artistic process. These drawings, such as 'Standing Figures and Ideas for Sculpture' (c.1948), are packed with quick studies and odd experimental forms, organised in rows and columns and sometimes drawn in bright pinks, blues, greens and orange.
Constantly looking for sources of inspiration, Moore would often walk along the Cornish seaside and visualise human forms in the landscape and his immediate surroundings. On one of his walks, Moore picked up a pebble and saw in it a wounded soldier, a subject that would dominate his works during the late 1940s and early 1950s and that he would develop in a series of studies and drawings, such as 'Helmet Heads' (1950-1951). In much of his work, Moore portrayed the melding of human figure with natural forms, as in 'Reclining Figure: Peapod (verso)' (c.1979). These drawings are a mixture of imagination and observation, pulled from objects in his surroundings and his personal thoughts.
In 1946, Moore's only child Mary was born, adding a new poignancy to his Mother and Child works, a subject that Moore explored throughout his career. These beautiful studies move away from the process-based and into the personal, allowing the viewer an image of Moore not as a world-renowned artist but as a proud new father, looking at his wife and newborn baby girl. Works such as 'Two Hands and Parent holding Child's Hand' show a delicate, sensitive approach with soft, white and grey washes providing a backdrop to a repeating study of a small toddler's hand trying to grip onto the hand of their parent.
Throughout his career, Moore utilised a wide range of techniques and media, such as line drawing and cross-hatching, gouache, chalk and crayon, to bring two-dimensional forms to life, creating impressions of movement and radiance and carving human forms from a sheet of paper in a similar fashion to the way in which he carved expressive forms from slabs of stone. With these works on paper, Moore was not drawing simply as an exercise. Instead, the artist was drawing for 'the pleasure of looking more intently and intensely', emphasising that these works on paper are not simply sketches, but instead illustrate important stages in Moore's development as a draughtsman and sculptor.
Henry Moore's drawings will be shown on the upper floors of our Zurich gallery in tandem with an exhibition of sculptures by Swiss artist Hans Josephsohn. This exhibition coincides with the release of the Hauser & Wirth publication, 'Henry Moore – Ideas for Sculpture', published by JRP | Ringier, as well as the much anticipated major exhibition at Tate Britain which runs until 8 August 2010.
Curated by Peter Märkli in collaboration with Kesselhaus Josephsohn
Hauser & Wirth Zürich is pleased to present a selection of sculptures by Hans Josephsohn, many of which have been cast in brass for the first time. Curated by the renowned Swiss architect Peter Märkli in collaboration with Kesselhaus Josephsohn, the exhibition will include Josephsohn’s half and standing figures as well as his reliefs, a sculptural form that has played a central role throughout Josephsohn’s artistic practice.
Over the years, Josephsohn and Märkli have developed a close relationship, the artist becoming a mentor for Peter Märkli and his work greatly influencing Märkli’s projects, such as La Congiunta, a small museum in the Southern Swiss Alps designed and built to house Josephsohn’s sculptures. The young architect first came to Josephsohn’s studio in 1975. Märkli’s visits soon became regular, with Josephsohn and Märkli connecting over Italian culture, ancient Greek classicism, Romanesque art and, most importantly, their mutual interest in the relationship between art and architecture.
For these reasons Märkli has chosen to focus the exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Zürich on Josephsohn’s reliefs, a type of sculpture that throughout art history has been predominantly used as an architectural ornamentation. Josephsohn’s reliefs not only explore the fundamental struggles associated with sculpture, but also issues arising in architecture, including themes of volume, form and proportion.
The exhibition will include important examples of Josephsohn’s reliefs from the 1950s and 1960s. In these earlier reliefs, Josephsohn removes figural representation from his work, depicting compositions consisting of abstracted figures and geometric shapes, as in Untitled (1952). However, unlike other abstract sculptors working during this time, Josephsohn did not reduce his forms in order to express only the essence of the subject or to renounce the figure. Instead, his reduction of the form to its most basic characteristics allowed the artist to explore the practical problems encountered within the spatial constraints of the relief.
At this time, Josephsohn was also continuing his earlier explorations of standing figures, such as Untitled (Miriam) (1953), a tall, slender, yet solid figure whose facial features and limbs are merely alluded to and whose feet seemingly morph into the plinth upon which she stands. These sculptures‘ straightforward simplicity and frontally oriented symmetry at once call to mind the gravitas of ancient sculpture and Egyptian stelae.
Alongside his earlier reliefs and sculptures, Josephsohn’s later ‘high’ reliefs from the 1970s will be shown. With these works, the figures once strictly constrained within the reliefs attain a new plasticity, expanding into space and towards the viewer. Many of these reliefs are closed off by a horizontal beam at the top of the work that, much like an architectural feature, acts as a stabilising element, condensing the space and enabling the sculpture to be integrated into an architectural context.
Two examples of Josephsohn’s more recent sculptures will also be included in the exhibition, sculptures which evidence the artist’s return to abstraction. These half figures, such as Untitled (1994), possess an insistent corporeality, and, through their compact forms, emphasise the heaviness and materiality of the body. Although very different from his earlier, geometric reliefs, Josephsohn similarly uses these works to explore recurring questions of proportion and volume.
Throughout his career, Josephsohn has cultivated an independence and artistic freedom that has allowed him to explore traditional forms of sculpture. All of these aspects of Josephsohn’s œuvre – geometric reduction, the abstraction of form, figuration and a return to abstraction in recent years – do not speak to his association with any school of theory or artistic movement. Instead, these changes show an artist’s continuing search for a way to express what is perceived or experienced. The unassignable characteristics of his figures and reliefs lend a timeless and enduring quality to his work.
Image: Henry Moore, Helmet Heads’ 1950–1951, Pencil, chalk, charcoal, wax crayon, watercolour, ink, and gouache on paper © The Henry Moore Foundation. Courtesy Henry Moore Family Collection and Hauser & Wirth
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Opening Friday 26 March 6 – 8 pm
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