(On til October 25th and highly recommended
; if you have a wheelchair-using friend, persuade them to go with you and via the magic of concession + companion the price drops from a slightly eyewatering £18/head to a much more reasonable £7.75, I am just saying.)
Something I've been remarking on to pretty much anyone who's around when the topic comes up, recently, is that I Am Very Into Modern Sculpture These Days and I don't actually know why
, in that I can't articulate what about abstract sculpture it is that does it for me (which I'd like to be able to if only so that, having articulated the matter, I can find more of it), and I'm also not terribly literate on the genre so am unaware of the conversations going on around me.
This exhibit made a point of emphasising that Hepworth's later work - the characteristic abstract carvings - were conceptualised by the artist as landscapes enfolding and embracing the viewer. 'I cannot write anything about landscape without writing about the human figure and human spirit inhabiting the landscape. For me, the whole art of sculpture is the fusion of these two elements.'
(And here's the paper I'm quoting that from, on figure and landscape
In addition to which, something I had not previously consciously understood
is that she adopted Cornwall, or Cornwall adopted her, or something; and even it was almost the right part, by which I mean almost the part of the coast path I - still - know so well that you can show me a photograph taken anywhere along a 10-mile stretch and I'll be able to tell you where the photographer was standing.
The exhibition included a film, part of her very careful curation of public images of her works, of her sculptures in situ in the liminal space that is beaches and coastal cliffs, with waves washing over them, as inherently tactile objects designed to be touched and lifted and moved and seen, and seen through
, in the dual sense of transparency and lens.
Even I began, almost, to understand Cubism: in the gallery of her early work, exhibited alongside that of her partner Ben Nicholson, with which and with whom she was in dialogue.
The curation of this exhibition is thoughtful and kind and clever, but clever in that it invites you to join in its delight, rather than being at all remote or austere. It was an absolute joy to move around; there were felicities of alignment at my height that were simply deliciously sensual, and I gather it worked similarly well when standing. I was very, very
glad to have spent an afternoon in its company.