In the sculpture garden

Today’s Zippy takes us once again into a sculpture garden, this time one devoted to Zippyoid versions of Henry Moore’s sculptures:


ZippyMoore — SurrealMoore? — is entirely abstract and is all about holes. RealMoore is full of figures (human, animal, and natural), though represented abstractly to some degree or another; and its negative spaces are significant but not omnipresent.

Case in point: the large two-part sculpture in #1.

Previously on this blog: the 1/20 posting “Large interior form”, about Moore’s Large Interior Form, 1953-54:


From the Public Art Archive site about the … sculpture:

Large Interior Form appears abstract but actually represents the human figure. British artist Sir Henry Moore tried to create “organisms that must be complete in themselves,” and to give the impression of his sculptures, “having grown organically, created by pressure from within.” Referring to the voids common to his sculptures, Moore said that holes make an object look more three-dimensional by connecting one side with the other. The three voids in this artwork were inspired by holes the artist observed in pebbles he found at the seashore.

The large sculpture in #1 is recognizably a famous Moore, Sheep Piece:

(#3) At the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park in Kansas City MO

Sheep Piece is a sculpture by Henry Moore made in three sizes from 1969-1972, starting in 1969 with a 14 centimetres (5.5 in) maquette (LH 625) modelled in plaster and then cast in bronze, enlarged in 1971 to a 142 centimetres (56 in) working model (LH 626) in plaster and then cast in bronze, and finally a full size bronze (LH 627) on a monumental scale, 570 centimetres (220 in) high, cast in 1971-72. The four full-size casts are at the Henry Moore Foundation in Perry Green, Hertfordshire, in Zürich, in Kansas City, and at the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens in Purchase, New York.

Moore was inspired by seeing sheep in the fields outside his windows at Perry Green, Hertfordshire. He made many sketches of the animals, which he described as “rather shapeless balls of wool, with a head and four legs. Then I began to realise that underneath all that wool was a body, which moved in its own way, and that each sheep had its individual character.”

The sculpture includes two forms, representing two animals – possibly two adult sheep, or a ewe with a lamb. Moore later wrote “The sculpture is in two related forms. One is solid and passive, resting firmly on the ground and strongly resistant – the other form, slightly larger and more active and powerful, but yet it leans on the lower form, needing it for support.” When Moore placed a cast of the sculpture in a field in Hertfordshire, he was pleased to see sheep sheltering under it or scratching themselves on it.

In the book Makers of Modern Culture, Patrick Conner describes the “power” of Sheep Piece as not only lying in the “physical confirmation of two massive structures but also in the psychological overtones of warmth and protectiveness that their relationship suggests”. (Wikipedia link)

So: not at all merely a pleasing abstract form, and also entirely devoid of holes.

One more Moore, a work that’s abstract (and holeful) but still suggests, without specifically representing, both natural forms and bodily forms:

(#4) At Yorkshire Sculpture Park (7 miles outside of Wakefield, 20 miles south of Leeds in West Yorkshire)

Hill Arches is a bronze sculpture by Henry Moore, catalogued as LH 636. The piece is made of four separate parts, three of which are described by Roger Berthoud, Moore’s biographer, as being stirrup-shaped; the fourth is a large sphere. One cast is situated in the Karlsplatz in front of the Karlskirche in Vienna, where it was installed in 1978 – initially to complaints that it disrupted the views of the historic church. Another is sited at the headquarters of Deere and Company in Illinois. (Wikipedia link)

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