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Henry Moore Institute Newsletter Issue 110
Henry Moore Institute Newsletter Issue 110

From autumn, the galleries of the Henry Moore Institute are filled with fireworks, flares and machines – ephemeral sculptural materials that destabilise the monumentality of sculpture and push at the limits of the possible.

In Galleries 1, 2 & 3 we present Dennis Oppenheim: Thought Collision Factories. In the Upper Sculpture Study Gallery with Stephen Cripps: Pyrotechnic Sculptor, we celebrate the recent acquisition of the Stephen Cripps archive, which will be available for researchers to consult from autumn 2014. While studying at Bath Academy of Art, Cripps wrote his thesis on Jean Tinguely, whose 1965 ‘Spiral’ is concurrently on show in our series of one-sculpture exhibitions.

Oppenheim, Cripps and Tinguely all pushed institutions to their limits. Both Oppenheim and Cripps realised exhibitions that prompted unscheduled visits by the fire service, with Cripps’ experiments at the Acme Gallery notorious for their combustions, tempered only by the skills he learnt as part of his day-job as a member of the London Fire Brigade. As a sculptural medium, fireworks are at their most material at the point when they start to dematerialise. On 30 November our conference Pyrotechnic Sculpture addresses how artists have used flares and fireworks to address materiality, a central condition of sculpture. Over the next three months we will be igniting three of Oppenheim’s fireworks signs in front of our black granite façade, with the lancework then displayed in the building, marking the walls with the blackened traces and the scent of spent explosives.

There is a long history of sculptors pushing at the boundaries of the possible, and the history of exhibitions also encompasses those exhibitions that did not happen – be that for technical or conceptual reasons. On 6 and 7 November our conference Imaginary Exhibitions explores a range of imagined but unrealised exhibition projects. As a centre for the study of sculpture the unrealised is as important to us as the realised, as it is here that sculpture, and exhibitions of sculpture, test and extend the limits of what is possible.

Lisa Le Feuvre, Head of Sculpture Studies

Image: Gego, 'Dibujo sin papel 79/2' ('Drawing without Paper 79/2', 1979) (detail), photo: Reinaldo Armas Ponce/Archivo Fundación Gego

New Exhibitions

On 21 November we open two new exhibitions in Leeds, alongside Jean Tinguely: ‘Spiral’, which continues until 5 January in Gallery 4. Our next exhibition in this gallery expands our study of machine sculptures with Vladimir and Georgii Stenberg: Construction for a Spatial Structure VI (‘KPS6’, 1919/73), a study of the Russian brothers’ prototype sculptures. Stephen Cripps: Pyrotechnic Sculptor opens in the Upper Sculpture Study Gallery, and explores the startling originality of his sculptural experiments. He transformed objects with actions, sound and pyrotechnics, developing numerous and ambitious schemes for mechanical sculptures and performances involving military hardware, fire, smoke, light and amplified sound. Cripps used drawings to develop and describe his ideas: some were realised as unpredictable events and ephemeral installations, whilst others remained full of potential.

Dennis Oppenheim: Thought Collision Factories opens in Galleries 1, 2 & 3, its title taken from one of Oppenheim’s notebooks, which are filled with lists of potential titles concisely describing experiments that were often put into practice. Over the last year we have been working closely with the Amy Plumb Oppenheim, the artist's widow, and consulting his archives to explore his move from fireworks to machines. Our exhibition begins with his first firework sculpture in 1972 and ends in 1986, with a drawing for a vast exploding structure.

On moving to New York in 1966 Oppenheim made incursions into the landscape, and became associated with artists such as Robert Smithson, whose ‘Asphalt Lump’ was recently shown in Indifferent Matter: From Object to Sculpture. In 1968 Oppenheim and Smithson joined Michael Heizer and Willoughby Sharp to discuss the relationship between documentation and Land Art; published in the Fall 1970 issue of Avalanche (held in the Research Library), this conversation has become key in discussions of the changing nature of art in this first wave of conceptual practice. Oppenheim was crucial in these debates.

In the early 1970s Oppenheim shifted from making marks on the land to using the surface of the body, and then from the body to puppets, which he saw as surrogates for the artist. These were to develop into large machine sculptures in the late 1970s and early 1980s, two of which are on show in our galleries. He then moved into architectural scale installations, examples of which can be seen at Yorkshire Sculpture Park to 16 February 2014. ‘Fixture Trees’ (2005) and ‘Trees: From Alternative Landscape Components’ (2006) are presented alongside a display of a hundred related sketches, selected by the Institute in collaboration with the Oppenheim Estate, presented with the first showing of a 2006 video-interview between Oppenheim and Willoughby Sharp.

Gego. Line as Object

Over the last year we have been working with Hamburger Kunsthalle and Kunstmuseum Stuttgart to develop the exhibition Gego. Line as Object, which opens in Hamburg on 29 November, travels to Stuttgart in March 2014 and will be presented here in Leeds from 24 July to 19 October 2014. A fully illustrated catalogue will available in our bookshop from the end of this month.

Gego (born Gertrud Goldschmidt, Hamburg, 1912) emigrated to Caracas, Venezuela from Germany in 1939, immediately after finishing her architectural studies in Stuttgart. For five decades she faithfully explored how a line can operate as an object, creating planes, volumes and expansive nets. This exhibition, researched in the archives of Fundación Gego, charts Gego’s study of the line through drawings, sculptures, proposals for public works, and plans for filling gallery spaces. It investigates the artist’s unrivalled engagement with the problems of form and space, and her use of light, shadow, scale and gravity in a constant process of sculptural discovery.

Gego. Line as Object is a collaboration between the Henry Moore Institute, Hamburger Kunsthalle and Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, and is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

The Leeds exhibition is additionally supported by artEDU Stiftung and the Institute's research in Venezuela has been made possible through the assistance of Fundación Cisneros.

Essays on Sculpture 68: My Life by Anton Lesseman

Paul Becker, one of our 2011 Research Fellows, tells the story of the sculptor Anton Lessemann, an unknown, and fictional, contemporary of Henry Moore. Featuring extracts from Lesseman’s autobiography, illustrated by sketches, paintings, letters and sculptures, and an interview between Paul Becker and Jon Wood (Research Curator at the Henry Moore Institute), this Essay is an exploration of the imaginary artist and the role of fiction in art making.

Essays on Sculpture 68: My Life by Anton Lesseman will be launched at the Institute on Wednesday 6 November 6–7pm, with an introduction by its author Paul Becker.

All issues of Essays on Sculpture are available from the Institute Bookshop and through our website. Published three times a year, the series can be subscribed to in issues of five, at a cost of £20, and all subscribers are sent two back issues of their choice from our list (up to Issue 62) free of charge. Back issues are available for purchase with all issues, including those out of print, collected in the Institute’s Research Library. Our out of print issues are gradually being added to our Online Papers and Proceedings, an open access resource on our website.

Winter Closure for Conservation Study

Between 4 November 2013 and 2 January 2014 the Henry Moore Institute Archive will be closed to visitors. In this period we will be undertaking a full and detailed survey of the collection. This work will ensure the preservation and conservation of this unique and significant resource, and we have scheduled this survey to take place during our quietest time period to ensure minimal disruption to researchers.

We are very happy to take bookings in advance from researchers from 2 January 2014 onwards.

For enquiries, please contact Claire Mayoh, Archivist:

Trevor Tennant and Dorothy Annan Archive

Work is underway to catalogue the Archive of (Dudley) Trevor Tennant (1900-80) and Dorothy Annan (1908-83) by freelance professional archivist, Alex Cave. The Archive provides a detailed and comprehensive insight into their work from the 1920s to the 1970s through correspondence and papers relating to commissions, sketchbooks, exhibition catalogues, photographs, scrapbooks, financial papers and press cuttings.

Annan was known as a painter and muralist, and noted for exhibiting her work with the Artists' International Association. Her murals were mainly for public commissions, including in 1960 a work for the listed Fleet Building on Farringdon Street, then the largest telephone exchange in London. The nine ceramic tile murals reflected the theme of communication with stylised images of cables, telegraph poles and radio aerials. Tennant trained at Goldsmiths and the Royal Academy before teaching at several art colleges, including Camberwell School of Art (1930-4). His work ranged from architectural commissions, including murals, through to figurative sculptures and portraits. His small-scale bronze works appeared in a series of influential group exhibitions entitled Sculpture in the Home, staged by the Arts Council in the 1950s and 1960s, which we explored in the exhibition Sculpture in the Home: Re-staging a Post-War Initiative, and issue 60 of our Essays on Sculpture series in 2008.

The Trevor Tennant and Dorothy Annan Archive will be available for consultation on completion of the catalogue in March 2014.

Daphne Hardy Henrion Sketchbooks

Isabel Wade, Henry Moore Institute Archive intern, is beginning work to sort and catalogue the sketchbooks and drawings of Daphne Hardy Henrion (1917-2003), which were acquired earlier this year. Hardy Henrion was a British sculptor known for her delicate portrait and figurative sculpture. She began her training as a sculptor at the early age of fourteen under the private tuition of Marian Gobius and Albert Termote in The Hague. She then attended the Royal Academy Schools in London (1934-7) with contemporaries including William Scott and Ivor Roberts-Jones. In 1937, at the age of twenty, she was awarded a Gold Medal and Travelling Scholarship for two years to study art, especially sculpture, in France and Italy.

It was during this time that she met the Hungarian writer Arthur Koestler, with whom, at the outbreak of war, she shared a house in Provence. Their life together is portrayed in his autobiographical novel Scum Of The Earth (1941). Daphne remained friends with Koestler until his death in 1983 and later completed a portrait bust of the writer, now held by the National Portrait Gallery.

The collection comprises over 100 of Hardy Henrion’s sketchbooks and drawings, dating from the 1930s to the 1990s. These show her progression from student through to practising artist and document her many works and commissions.

The sketchbooks and drawings will be available for consultation from April 2014 onwards.

Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowships 2014-15: Call for Applications

Research is central to the activities of the Institute. Each year we offer a number of Fellowships to enable researchers of different backgrounds and disciplines to develop their work at the Institute. Research Fellowships are intended for artists, scholars and curators working on historic and contemporary sculpture who can make particular use of the Institute’s resources: our Research Library, Archive of Sculptors’ Papers and the Leeds sculpture collections, which we manage in partnership with Leeds Museums and Galleries.

In 2014–15 up to four Research Fellows will be given the opportunity to spend a month in Leeds to develop their research. In addition we will support up to two six-week Senior Fellowships, which are intended to give established scholars time and space to develop a research project free from their usual work commitments. Up to two Senior Fellowships, for periods of between four to six weeks, will be offered.

Both Fellowships provide accommodation, travel expenses and a per diem.

For more information contact Kirstie Gregory, Research Programme Assistant:

Internships: Call for Applications

Each year we invite applications for four funded internships from students across MA programmes at UK universities. The internships are aimed at students who have an interest in sculpture and are intended to provide practical experience of working in a museum environment. Internships relate to our collections, exhibitions and research programme and involve students working with our resources and curators.

The timing of each internship is arranged according to applicant and project schedule. Travel and, if necessary, accommodation will be provided. An award of £250 will be given to students at the end of the two-week internships.

Our 2013-14 intern projects are:


This project involves research focusing on the famous Neolithic stone circles and pre-historic landscape around the village of Avebury. We would like to look more closely at the relationship between henge monuments, stone circles and other monumental sculpture to identify shared intentions and important differences.

Library Display: My Life by Anton Lesseman

This project centres on a forthcoming Research Library display planned to coincide with the recent publication of My Life by Anton Lesseman. The essay, comprising selected extracts from a to-be-published autobiography of an imaginary artist, has been written by artist Paul Becker who has donated Lesseman’s archive to the Henry Moore Institute Archive of Sculptors’ Papers.


This project is to research the publishing field for current books on histories of exhibiting sculpture and interviews with sculptors, research exhibitions internationally relating to the Institute's existing publications and identify gaps in current publishing on sculpture.

Sculpture and Mathematics

The Institute is in the early stages of researching relationships between sculpture and mathematics, looking at subjects such as geometry, quantity, structure, space, multiplicity, patterns and logic. This internship involves compiling a bibliography, sourcing images/artists and developing ideas alongside Institute staff as the starting point for an academic conference.

To apply, please outline how the internship relates to your experience and interests (500 words) and email with your CV to Kirstie Gregory, Research Programmes Assistant,

Deadline: 18 November 2013

Conference Report: Alfred Drury's 'The Age of Innocence'

Our 2011-13 Henry Moore Foundation Post-doctoral Fellow, Dr Elizabeth McCormick, ended her two year tenure at the Institute with the exhibition The Age of Innocence: Replicating the Ideal Portrait in the New Sculpture Movement and its accompanying conference. We are very pleased to announce that our 2013-15 Post-doctoral Fellow is Dr Rebecca Wade, and here she reports on the conference:

'Taking a single object as its focus, this one-day conference brought together six papers that responded to 'The Age of Innocence' by Alfred Drury (1856-1944), which was on display in three versions as part of the exhibition The Age of Innocence: Replicating the Ideal Portrait in the New Sculpture Movement.

The models for Drury’s portrait busts were identified and explored in relation to the tension between the representation of the general and the particular relative to the production of ideal types. Archival photographs allowed for visual comparison, leading to a discussion of the representation and social status of children and childhood as ‘innocent’ subjects. The work was considered in its multiple versions in marble, plaster and bronze, with close attention paid to the variations in form and attendant shifts in meaning, cost and critical reception. The conditions of their production, reproduction and display were discussed in the context of Drury’s sculptural practice, particularly the works that were exhibited in and commissioned for Leeds.

Several speakers and respondents interrogated the definition of New Sculpture as a discrete and discernible movement and the extent to which it remains productive to consider Drury’s practice in this context. Certainly Drury’s training under Alphonse Legros (1837-1911) and Aimé-Jules Dalou (1838-1902) emerged as formative continental influences, alongside his British contemporaries Hamo Thornycroft (1850-1925), Alfred Gilbert (1854-1934) and George Frampton (1860-1928).

The day concluded with a conversation, in front of the work itself, between Ben Read, author of the seminal book Victorian Sculpture (1982), and the grandson of Alfred Drury, Jolyon Drury.'

A recording of the conference is available in the Audio-Visual Library.

Fellowship Report

My research project, Paul Neagu: From Tactile Object to Catalytic Sculpture, included in the Henry Moore Institute's research programme, covered two areas: on the one hand, the personal component – the Romanian-British artist’s work and the archive containing various data, the bibliography of catalogues, flyers, exhibition posters, and studies about Paul Neagu; on the other hand, a broader area of research, investigating a rich collateral bibliography, valuable in the development of a theory on this topic. For this, the Institute's Research Library enabled me to go through studies and articles in numerous publications which appeared decades ago and also to consult more recent theoretical material. At the same time, it was an opportunity for me to investigate the contents of publications from other library archives, such as the British Library.

With the direct support of the Institute, I was able to consult various English and Scottish archives containing Paul Neagu’s artworks or documents about his activity in various moments since 1969, the year of Neagu’s first exhibition in Britain. Among these other collections are the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh and the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle, which offered fascinating material about the various stages of creation in the artist’s life.

Dr Ileana Pintilie, West University, Timi┼čoara

In 2015 we will present a solo exhibition of Paul Neagu's work in Galleries 1, 2 & 3.

Forthcoming Events

Unless otherwise noted, events are free. Booking is advised as places are limited. See

Wednesday 6 November 2-6pm and Thursday 7 November 10.30am-6pm

Conference: Imaginary Exhibitions

£10/£5 concessions

Wednesday 6 November 6-7pm

Book and Journal Launches: Sculpture and the Vitrine and Issue 68 of Essays on Sculpture

With Professor John C. Welchman and Paul Becker

Friday 15 November 6-8pm

Art History in the Pub

Including a talk by artist Paul Becker: 'The neglected and wholly fictitious British scultpor, Anton Lesseman'

Collaboration with the Association of Art Historians

Hosted by Whitelock's, 4 Turks Head Yard, Leeds, LS1 6HB

Saturday 16 November 10-5pm

Conference: New Voices: Art and Decolonisation

Collaboration with the Association of Art Historians

Wednesday 20 November 3-4pm

Gallery Discussion: Dennis Oppenheim: Thought Collision Factories

Amy Plumb Oppenheim (Estate of Dennis Oppenheim) and Lisa Le Feuvre (Henry Moore Institute)

Wednesday 27 November 5.30pm

Ignition of Dennis Oppenheim Fireworks Sign 'Narrow Mind'

Saturday 30 November 10.30am-6pm

Conference: Pyrotechnic Sculpture

£10/£5 concessions

Tuesday 3 December 10.30am-5pm

Leeds Museums and Galleries Consortium Collaborative Doctorate Awards Workshop

Wednesday 11 December 5.30pm

Ignition of Dennis Oppenheim Fireworks Sign 'Mindless Less Mind'

Christmas and New Year

The Institute will be closed as follows over the Christmas and New Year period:

Monday 23–Thursday 26 December: closed

Friday 27–Sunday 29 December: open as usual

Monday 30 December–Wednesday 1 January: closed

Events Elsewhere

Friday 29 November 10am-6.30pm

University of York, Berrick Saul Building

Conference: London Art Worlds: Mobile, Contingent and Ephemeral Networks, 1960-1980

Confirmed speakers include: Elena Crippa (Tate), Antony Hudek (Liverpool John Moores), Dominic Johnson (QMUL), Carmen Juliá (Tate), Courtney Martin (Brown), Lucy Reynolds (Central St Martins), Joy Sleeman (UCL), Isobel Whitelegg (Nottingham Contemporary) & Andrew Wilson (Tate).

Free but registration is essential.

Monday 2 December, 4.30pm

University of York, Department of History of Art, Vanbrugh College V/045

Research Seminar: Against Photographic Exceptionalism

Professor Stephen Bann

Admission free

Call for Papers

The Production of Ornament: Reassessing the Decorative in History and Practice

21-22 March 2014, University of Leeds

Keynote speakers: Susanne Kuechler (Professor of Material Culture in the Department of Anthropology, UCL) and Alina Payne (Professor of the History of Art and Architecture, Harvard)

The conference will explore the production of ornament across a broad range of historical and geographical contexts. We invite proposals from researchers and postgraduates working in any discipline, as well as practitioners, conservators and curators.

Proposals of no more than 300 words, along with a CV, should be sent to Dr Richard Checketts and Dr Lara Eggleton at by Friday 13 December 2013.

Supported by The Henry Moore Foundation


Qatar Museum Authority (QMA) and Fondazione Prada have launched CURATE, the first curating prize of its kind in the world. 

Through the award, QMA and Fondazione Prada aim to challenge people's ideas of what an exhibition can be and to encourage perspectives that regard new languages inside and outside museums' spaces in a rapidly changing world.

Deadline for entries: 31 December 2013

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