Dialectical Materialism    British Sculpture since the 1960s

Jonathan Vernon and Jon Wood, 2019

27 × 22.5 cm
ISBN: 978 1 909932 54 8

Exhibition catalogue to accompany the Karsten Schubert London show (28 September–6 October, 1 Park Village East, London NW1 7PX), featuring the work of Anthony Caro, Barry Flanagan, Richard Long, William Turnbull, Rachel Whiteread and Alison Wilding. The exhibition includes the work of six sculptors, to be seen both as a group and also as pairs. Each of them are represented both by large and smaller works. 


Dialectical Materialism: British Sculpture since the 1960s charts a network of relations linking the work of six sculptors: Anthony Caro, Barry Flanagan, Richard Long, William Turnbull, Rachel Whiteread and Alison Wilding. Since the 1960s, successive artists and art-critical frameworks have sought to undermine or dispense with traditional media and the boundaries between painting and sculpture, the core disciplines of modern Western art. The artists studied here are united by their commitment to sculpture as a distinct practice, but also to broadening, challenging and redefining the basis of that practice. In his essay, art historian Jonathan Vernon argues that each of these sculptors has engaged in a realignment of sculptural and material space – in removing sculpture from the disembodied, ‘disinterested’ spaces of mid-century modernism and returning it to a shared world inhabited by other objects, our selves and our material interests. From the conflicts that inhere in this space, we may discern the outlines of a new idea of British sculpture since the 1960s – an idea by turns narrative, dramatic and dysfunctional.

Jonathan Vernon is an Associate Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and a specialist on Constantin Brancusi and Cold War-era interpretations of twentieth-century modernism. He is the recipient of a Terra Foundation for American Art fellowshipand former contributing editor at The Burlington Magazine


Jon Wood is a writer and curator who has worked extensively on modern and contemporary sculpture and particularly on sculpture in twentieth-century Britain. He ran the sculpture research programme at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, for many years and worked as co-editor of Sculpture Journal. He also serves on several sculpture committees, including Art UK’s Sculpture Project and the Gabo Trust. 


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