Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Review: Henry Moore

Yesterday I went to see the Henry Moore exhibition at the Tate (which continues until August 8th). This is a fantastic collection of the artist's sculptures and drawings that takes us through a journey from his early luxurious works through his development into a harder edged style which seems to be heavily influenced by his experiences during the war.

Moore's voluptuous works beg to be fondled and licked. Their curves seem perfectly molded for the hand as well as the eye.

Indeed you might be fooled by the galleries constant signs saying that we were not to touch the objects that Moore thought his work should be regarded from afar as some sort of aesthetic wonders. In fact he felt it was essential to touch his work and he'd hoped that people would sit on and lounge across his work.

I've not been to Harlow for a while but certainly it used to be the case that his priceless art works were open to all in the public squares where young people were frequently seen perched atop these multi-million pound objects. I've heard the council has moved them out of sight which, if true, is a real shame as Moore saw his art as something that should physically interact with the community, not stand aloof from it.

Moore's easy abstract style feels like it has welled out of his subconscious conjuring up images both dark, erotic and strong. He once said that he'd refused all psychoanalysis because he'd feared it might disarm his artistic urges rooted as they were below the surface of his mind.

What I hadn't realised is that how clearly influenced by the war his development was. His drawings in the bomb shelters are deeply moving and quite unexpected. After delving into the depths of fear of those days his work moves away from obsessions of maternal and onto darker and more violent themes.

This is certainly an exhibition that's well worth visiting if you're in London over the next few months. Moore's place as one of the UK's most highly regarded British artists is well earned and here we see a wonderful snap shot of his work.

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