Draped Reclining Figure (After Henry Moore)
495 x 991 x 571 cm
Commissioned by The Hepworth Wakefield, 2015
Between 2013-2015, Hughes conducted research in the Wakefield Art Gallery Archive, focusing on Draped Reclining Figure, 1979, a sculpture by Henry Moore that he donated to Castleford, his birth place and a near neighbour of Wakefield. It was sited outside Castleford’s Civic Centre in 1980 until a spate of thefts of public sculpture across the UK in 2012 prompted its removal and storage. It is now displayed in the Castleford Forum Museum.
Hughes was captivated by the detail in which the life of this work was documented. Letters, photographs and other archival material showed the changing meanings, associations and attitudes towards a major work of art sited in the public realm. The vandalism and eventual removal of Moore’s Draped Reclining Figure was of interest to Hughes in considering ‘productive vandalism’ that he sees as another form of public art: a crisp packet posted through a hole, some chewing deliberately placed or a pair of glasses drawn on a sculpture.
During the development of this new sculpture, Hughes worked with the Learning team at The Hepworth Wakefield, holding workshops with over 70 children in Castleford schools. Hughes’ new Draped Reclining Figure sited at Castleford Academy engages with the historic role of public sculpture with characteristic wry visual humour, particularly drawing on the strong support of Rugby League in the local area.