5 October 2019—4 October 2020

Being Human: An exhibition of modern sculpture

Can art capture what it is to be human?

Being Human explores how sculptors have grappled with the human form.

Presenting work from Bristol’s collection, this exhibition is a powerful visual feast by a significant group of artists. Their work focuses on themes of beauty, identity, sexuality and existential angst in the aftermath of war.

A standing female human figure removing her clothes, cast in bronze by Reg Butler

Being Human features early modernist experimentation by Antoine Bourdelle to 20th century modernism from Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Jacob Epstein and Willhem Lehmbruck.

At the heart of the exhibition are the so-called ‘Geometry of Fear’ sculptors: Lynn Chadwick, Ken Armitage, Reg Butler and Bernard Meadows. These artists lived through the Second World War and produced tortured, twisted forms conveying the angst and perhaps the guilt of having survived.

These examples appear alongside work by fellow British sculptors Frank Dobson, Hubert Dalwood, Elisabeth Frink and Ralph Brown as well as new acquisitions by Yeesookyung and Wood and Harrison to explore how sculpture embodies the human form.

Find out more about our sculpture collection.

Images: Help by Bernard Meadows and Girl by Reg Butler