Figures Rising, Fractured and Falling. Conflicting compulsions in Marini’s and Moore’s later sculpture

24 March 2020 / 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Two powerful impulses played a role in Henry Moore’s and Marino Marini’s ambitious and often large scale refashioning of the figure in the period after the Second World War. On the one hand were hopes of regeneration, of making art (and society anew), fuelled by postwar reconstruction efforts and egalitarian socialist and social democratic aspiration; on the other hand, the persistent effects of the war’s immense destruction and devastation of life and environment, soon combined with anxieties over threat of nuclear annihilation. This talk explores Marini’s and Moore’s different approaches to endowing the shaping and stance of their sculpture with a temporal complexity appropriate to the dynamic of these conflicting impulses. Theirs was an art, not of poised, becalmed figuration, but of figures rising, fractured and falling.


Alex Potts is the author of Flesh and the Ideal. Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History (1994 and 2000), The Sculptural Imagination. Figurative, Modernist, Minimalist (2000), and most recently Experiments in Modern Realism: World Making, Politics and the Everyday in Postwar European and American Art (2013). He was coeditor of Modern Sculpture Reader (2007/2012). Currently he is writing a book on labour and the visual representation of the social in nineteenth painting and sculpture. He taught history of art at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where he was Max Loehr Collegiate Professor.