Folklore Antiphon

One of the more restrained sculptures on campus stands next to the Concert Hall. Most people will have walked past it on the way from Vanbrugh to town. This article about it is taken from the February 1996 issue of the University Magazine:


``In all arts let us become pure spirits, not only liberators, but necessarily and above all liberated'' (English Art and Modernism 1900-1939 by Barbara Hepworth)

Barbara Hepworth's desire to liberate sculptural form was attempted through such notions as the `spiritual inner life', a manifestation of living things both according to doctrines of vitalism. Antiphon addresses both a modernist standpoint in sculpture whilst at the same time conforms to Matisse's concept of art as ``a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.''

Antiphon illustrates Hepworth's interest in biomorphism with its investigations of inner and outer forms. Hollows convey the three dimensional quality of the actual space the sculpture occupies. Hepworth rejected the traditions of Western art which drew from elitest literary or mythological sources, and advocated that inspiration for scuplture should come from the forms to be found in nature. Antiphon represents this in that it is asymmetric yet stable, whole and contained. It provides more than just a shrewd account of our experiences as living beings in relation to our environment, aesthetically, it works.

Sally Casebourne
Department of History of Art

Photo caption:

Antiphon, by Barbara Hepworth (bronze, 1969) can be found on the University Campus next to the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall. Like Henry Moore, Hepworth acknowledged that their choice of vocation and style of work was heavily influenced by the Yorkshire landscape with its isolated outcrops of stone and wild moorland rising starkly above dark industrial valleys.

Block text:

Born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, BARBARA HEPWORTH won a scholarship to Leeds School of Art in 1920 where she studied art alongside Henry Moore. In 1928 she settled in Hampstead, then a mecca for artists, writers and intellectuals, where she lived and worked in the Mall Studios. During the war, she and her children evacuated to St Ives with her second husband, sculptor Ben Nicholson. St Ives was an important artists' colony, and at that time was atttracting many leading abstract painters who wanted to break away from conventional modes of representation. Later she bought the Trewyn Studios and continued to live and work there until her death in 1975.

The statue was purchased as a result of the generosity of Barbara Hepworth and of Sir William Crosthwaite.

Related pages:

* Algol
* Dryad, Tears of St Lawrence, `Library Sculpture', Three Norns
* Mayflower 1
* The Buddah
* Rose of York

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