Friday, 13 December 2013

Senses and Sculpture: Highlights of 2013 at the Henry Moore Institute

With 2013 coming to an end, Leeds Art Scene invited the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, to share its highlights of the past year.

This year’s program at the Henry Moore Institute has not only been a spectacular treat for the eyes, but for all the senses.

At the beginning of 2013, visitors saw the first solo UK institutional exhibition dedicated to Robert Filliou (1926-87), The Institute of Endless Possibilities.


During the exhibition, the Institute restaged a game called ‘Leeds’ that was first orchestrated by Filliou at Leeds College of Art in 1969.

The game involves two blindfolded card players and a surrounding audience that guides each player through their moves – throughout the game the players must work together with the spectators and trust their judgment.

This summer during Indifferent Matter: From Object to Sculpture, audiences were greeted by Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s (1957-96) gleaming field of silver-wrapped sweets, “Untitled’ (Placebo)’, and Andy Warhol’s (1928-87) ‘Silver Clouds’.


Visitors were invited to consume the pineapple-flavoured sweets and throughout the course of the exhibition the Institute was tasked with returning the sculpture to its ideal mass each day.

Similarly, the Institute needed to maintain ‘Silver Clouds’, which involved a set of strategically placed fans and numerous half-filled helium balloons. Often a balloon slowly floating around the gallery space would drop out of circulation and would sink to the floor - in which case an information assistant would re-launch the rogue balloon back up towards the ceiling.


Last week the Institute ignited a flare sculpture by Dennis Oppenheim (1938-2011) entitled ‘Narrow Mind’.

Sounds, smells and smoke filled the atmosphere as the flares burned on top of the steps outside the building. The spent flares were then removed from their blackened wooden frames and hung on the wall of the Institute’s reception.

The event was one of three that will take place during Thought Collision Factories, an exhibition that explores Oppenheim’s use of fireworks, flares and machines as sculptural materials.


Every day at 12 noon the machines are switched on and visitors can experience them running for a short period of time. One machine is a launching pad for fireworks and the other involves candy floss - both works produce processes rather than products.

Dennis Oppenheim: Thought Collision Factories is paired with Stephen Cripps: Pyrotechnic Sculptor in the Upper Sculpture Study Gallery, and Jean Tinguely: 'Spiral' (1965) in Gallery 4 until January 5, 2014. The exhibition celebrates the 2013 acquisition of Stephen Cripps’ archive for the Henry Moore Institute and can been viewed until February 16, 2014.

What do you think was the highlight at the Henry Moore Institute this year? Please leave your comments below.

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