Photo from the Paul neagu: Palpable Sculpture gallery discussion, 16 September 2015
Photo: Kirstie Gregory
What does 'research' mean for the Henry Moore Institute, a centre for the study of sculpture?
As a part of The Henry Moore Foundation, the Henry Moore Institute is tasked with the responsibility to study sculpture, placing it centrally within current art historical scholarship and actively encouraging new research.
Throughout the Institute's activities 'sculpture' is understood as a complex and changing subject for enquiry rather than a settled, resolved or easily defined art form, medium or genre. Our study of sculpture embraces the historic, modern and contemporary, with our research charged by an interest to learn from the past and the present, as well as for speculations on the future.
The past is a place full of objects and ideas outside of an immediately visible or graspable present. The study of the history of sculpture can help extend and broaden contemporary intellectual and aesthetic horizons and expectations, while the interrogation of sculpture being made today is essential to understand the ever-expanding nature of our specialist field of study.
To research sculpture is to study the assumptions and systems that build ways of understanding the surrounding world. At the Institute, sculpture is simultaneously addressed as a material object and an intellectual investigation, with the starting point always the artwork. Research here fuels an accumulation of knowledge that can be deployed to reanimate and interrogate the place of sculpture within the histories of art.
In order to grasp the complexities of 'sculpture', research at the Institute operates across disciplines and art forms. Working in partnership enables the sharing and exchange of knowledge. At times we look to drawing, painting, design, architecture, photography, film and sound; at others to conservation, publishing and collecting; as well as to politics, sociology, anthropology, archaeology, philosophy and literary studies; and to both British sculpture and its global contexts. We look to these specialisms in order to better understand the important role that sculpture plays - both in dialogue with them and in relation to the world at large.
At the Institute we facilitate research through our exhibitions, collections, Archive, Library, events and, most importantly, through the generation and support of research networks, that stretch beyond the confines of academia. Each year our research is organised into specific areas of inquiry, with our interrogations made public through conferences, seminars, lectures and fellowships. Throughout the year we encourage researchers at all levels to seek our advice and make use of our resources. As well as hosting research in our base in the heart of Leeds, our activities are mobilised through collaborations on local, national and international levels.