Plymouth set to host major new sculpture exhibition

Anthea Hamilton, Leg Chair (Jane Birkin), 2011, Acrylic, brass, photographic reproductions, 7” single cover, nylon stockings, wax, 81 x 92 x 46cm. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Anthea Hamilton. Courtesy the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery.

A groundbreaking exhibition that promises a ‘radical recalibration’ of British sculpture through its focus on women artists is set to open in venues across the Plymouth cultural quarter this weekend.

Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women since 1945 explores the impact of female sculptors over a 75-year period, bringing to the city such luminaries as Barbara Hepworth, Elisabeth Frink, Kim Lim and Cornelia Parker.

Billed as the ‘first comprehensive survey of post-war British sculpture by women’, Breaking the Mould showcases more than 40 sculptors, working across and with a variety of genres and materials.

The Arts Council Collection exhibition is touring nationally and has been brought to the city by the partnership between The Box and The Arts Institute at the University of Plymouth. It will be displayed in The Levinsky Gallery and St Luke’s church, from 26 March to 5 June.

Mary Costello, Exhibitions Coordinator at The Arts Institute said: 

“The South West is – quite rightly – very proud of its association with famous post-war British sculptor, Barbara Hepworth, but there are many other women who have also made far ranging and significant contributions in this field since the post-war period. From Elisabeth Frink, who was prominent in the mid-1900s, to significant contemporary figures like Cornelia Parker, Rachel Whiteread, Sokari Douglas-Camp and Mona Hatoum, it’s a huge treat for the South West to see such a vast span of female sculptors hosted at The Levinsky Gallery and St Luke’s, The Box.”

Breaking the Mould is arranged into three themes exploring the figure, form and found objects. The ‘Figured’ and ‘Formed’ sections will be on display in St Luke's, while the ‘Found’ section and a resource area are the focus in The Levinsky Gallery. Both spaces are free with no need to book.

Judith Robinson, Arts Programmes Manager at The Box, said: 

“Rebalancing the role and representation of women is a key element of the programme at The Box this year. Sculpture has often been seen as a male art form and many accounts of it have completely overlooked the contribution made by women. Breaking the Mould is a fantastic and very timely opportunity to celebrate the strength and diversity of some of our most talented female sculptors. The events that have been programmed alongside the exhibition will also provide some great extra insights and responses to the themes and works that will be on display.”

The event programme for Breaking the Mould features bitesize gallery talks, yoga, sound bath and poetry events. Full details of the event can be found on the University website.