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Plasters: Casts and Copies at The Hepworth Wakefield, 2014. Photo by Stuart Whipps.
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Plasters: Casts and Copies

02 May 2015 - 08 May 2016

This exhibition presented sculpture made over a period of three hundred years and explored the changing artistic significance of plaster. From the 15th century onwards, plaster copies were made of ancient sculptures. These were used by art academies to train their students who would study and draw the casts.

Examples of these antique casts from the Royal Academy of Arts were on display, including plaster versions of the classical works the Belvedere Torso and Discobolus. These highlight how casts were used before the invention of photography as a means of reproducing works of art for a wide international audience. These historic sculptures were be placed in context with work by contemporary artists including Nick Evans, Anthea Hamilton, Kris Martin, Thomas Schütte and Rebecca Warren and Paloma Varga Weiss.

The exhibition also addressed how Barbara Hepworth and her contemporaries used plaster both in the process of creating bronze sculptures and as a material in its own right.

A permanent display of plasters and prototypes by Hepworth lies at the heart of The Hepworth Wakefield, showing how she carved and painted her plaster models. This wider exhibition showed examples of earlier works from the 1930s and 40s by Hepworth and her contemporaries. It included plaster sculptures by artists such as Eileen Agar, Jean Arp, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Ben Nicholson and Kurt Schwitters.

This exhibition was supported by

The Henry Moore Foundation

Plasters: Casts and Copies at The Hepworth Wakefield, 2014. Photo by Stuart Whipps.