“Tactile experience as a very important aesthetic dimension in sculpture“

Installation view with Henry Moore, “Mother and Child“, 1978, stalactite, “Reclining Figure: Hand“, 1979, bronze and Edmund de Waal, “tacet X and XIII“, Hornton stone, 2020. Reproduced by permission of the Henry Moore Foundation, Edmund de Waal and New Art Centre, Wiltshire. Photo: Alzbeta Jaresova

In the exhibition “This Living Hand“ in the Henry Moore Studios & Gardens curated by Edmund de Waal, visitors are invited to touch the works in stone and bronze

Visitors are encouraged to explore the role of touch in Henry Moore’s sculpture in “This Living Hand“, a new exhibition curated by acclaimed artist and author Edmund de Waal. The show takes place through October 31, 2021, in the Henry Moore Studios & Gardens in Perry Green, Hertfordshire, just a short trip from London and accessible from two local train stations.

Moore believed that “tactile experience is very important as an aesthetic dimension in sculpture.” Throughout his career, he repeatedly emphasized the importance of experiencing sculpture haptically, and often returned to the hand as a subject in his sculpture and drawings, studying its expressive power and symbolic values as Auguste Rodin and Michelangelo, two of his favorite artists, had done before him.

Henry Moore, “Mother and Child“, 1978, Stalactite. Photo: Jonty Wilde

In the innovative exhibition, you are invited to touch a collection of Moore’s work in bronze and stone, plus a series of original carved benches created by the curator from Hornton stone – one of Henry Moore’s favorite materials.

In addition, Edmund de Waal has curated a selection of artworks which express Moore’s fascination with the expressive power and symbolism of the hand: from “Reclining Figure: Hand“ 1979 to the numerous two and three-dimensional studies of his own and other subjects’ hands – including the drawings and lithographs he made in 1978 of the winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Dorothy Hodgkin, who wanted her hands to be used as her portrait.

Edmund de Waal says: “To be able to touch Moore’s sculpture is a unique experience…We see a Wunderkammer of objects that Moore kept close by him at home, objects of haptic sustenance and renewal. We see a life of reflection on how hands become sculpture. We are returned to what knowledge our own hands hold.”

Installation view with Edmund de Waal, “stone for two hands and water“, 2021. Reproduced by permission of Edmund de Waal and New Art Centre, Wiltshire.

Henry Moore, along with his wife Irina, established their house and studios in Perry Green, Hertfordshire in 1940. Their rural setting served not only as a refuge from The Blitz in London but as a profound source of inspiration – influencing the scale and scope of many of Moore’s most acclaimed works. The picturesque natural surroundings stimulated Moore’s creativity – from the rolling landscape itself to the rocks and orchards found throughout the estate.

Having established the Henry Moore Foundation in 1977, Moore gifted the grounds, buildings and contents of his 70-acre estate to the Foundation, which continues to conserve and present his work in the setting in which it was created.

Henry Moore Foundation

(10.06.2021, USA: 06.10.2021)