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Henry Moore Institute to reopen Tuesday 1 September 2020

Release date: Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Kara Chatten

  • By Kara Chatten
  • Henry Moore Institute
  • Marketing & Communications Manager (Leeds)

The Henry Moore Institute, the centre for sculpture in Leeds will reopen to the public on 1 September 2020 after a temporary closure of more than five months due to Covid-19.

Guided by the latest official advice, a range of measures have been put into place to ensure the safety of visitors, staff and the local community. To manage the number of visitors, so that everyone can enjoy the Galleries, Research Library and Archive at a safe distance, a pre-booking system has been introduced. Free admission tickets will be available to book from 18 August 2020 on the website, alongside the latest information and guidance on how to visit.  

Providing a safe and enjoyable experience is the Institute’s priority; a one-way system has been implemented to guide visitors around the Galleries, hand-sanitising stations will be available throughout the building, an enhanced cleaning regime will be in operation and staff will be issued with PPE.

The Institute closed its doors on 17 March, just five days after it had opened a new exhibition Paloma Varga Weisz: Bumped Body. This exhibition had been due to close on 28 June but the Henry Moore Institute is delighted to announce it will now be extended to 3 January 2021 to allow more visitors to experience this significant presentation.

“We can’t wait to welcome visitors back to the Henry Moore Institute. When we installed Paloma Varga Weisz’s sculpture Bumpman on a Tree Trunk outside the building, we had no idea that he would be sitting waiting for our visitors to return. But with him there, we have been so pleased that we could still give people access to art, even though our doors have been closed. Besides the obvious safety reasons, it’s going to be a great experience for our visitors when we do reopen: with such limited numbers, they will essentially have an exclusive viewing of a really compelling exhibition.”

Laurence Sillars, Head of the Henry Moore Institute

Paloma Varga Weisz: Bumped Body

until 3 January 2021

This exhibition introduces the enchanting figurative sculpture of Paloma Varga Weisz in the artist’s first public solo exhibition in England. Using traditional techniques of woodcarving and ceramics, her sculptures create a symbolic universe that is full of stories. Alongside sculpture, Varga Weisz uses watercolour and drawing to create a world of masquerades, disguises and role reversals. Her work often begins with an element of autobiography, but quickly becomes universal in its provocations around identity, societal ‘norms’ and historical stereotyping.

Classically trained in Bavaria, Varga Weisz learnt traditional woodcarving and modelling before studying at the art academy in Düsseldorf. Her work is filled with echoes of art history and, especially, the artistic and cultural history of the Europe. Its cultural-historical and iconographic traditions are reflected in her choice of materials, craftsmanship, symbolism and existential themes. While the emblems and icons of history are present throughout her work, the visual and symbolic journey Varga Weisz’s work elicits is very much her own, and one of the present day. 

Varga Weisz was born in Mannheim, Germany in 1966 and lives and works in Düsseldorf.

Paloma Varga Weisz: Bumped Body is delivered in partnership with Bonnefanten, Maastricht, where it was presented from 6 October 2019 – 2 February 2020.

During the Insitute's period of closure, Paloma Varga Weisz and Head of the Henry Moore Institute, Laurence Sillars have been recording video conversations between their homes in Germany and England, exploring her work and her experiences of lockdown. Released on the website and social media channels, the conversations include an episode on Bumpman

Sculpture Research Library and Archive

With more than 27,000 books, exhibition catalogues, journals and audio-visual items, the Library is an outstanding resource for studying sculpture. Visitors to the Library will be encouraged to browse the online catalogue before their visit and let Library staff know in advance know what they are interested in viewing during their visit.

The Library and Archive will be initially open to the public for the revised times of Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5pm, by pre-booked timed ticket only.

Research programme

The Research programme has been postponed throughout closure. From 1 September 2020 newly established Research Seasons interrogating the different angles of a specific theme will be launched. In light of Covid-19, these will be online events, allowing a range of international specialists to take part with follow-up question and answer opportunities. 

Monuments Research Season
Rescheduled to October 2020 – February 2021

Monuments have become headline news all over the world. The twenty-first century has seen actions as diversely motivated as the 2001 destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyan by the Taliban, protests over the confederate monument on Capitol Hill in Raleigh, North Carolina, and, most recently, the toppling of Bristol’s monument to Edward Colston during 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests.

This Research Season, organised in collaboration with Dr Rebecca Senior, Henry Moore Institute Postdoctoral Research Fellow, will explore current debates around monuments, providing a platform for new research into monumental sculpture and its historical and geopolitical legacies.

Forthcoming programme

Looking to the future, the Henry Moore Institute is also excited to announce its forward programme until autumn 2021

Portable Sculpture

5 February – 6 June 2021

This group exhibition explores sculptures dating from 1934 to the present day that are designed to fold up, pack down, or dismantle. The word ‘sculpture’ is often associated with large, immobile objects that are weighty and permanent. But sculpture is not always fixed in place: it can be mobile, agile and endlessly adaptable. The portability of the sculptures in this exhibition is sometimes an indication of geopolitical situations, and sometimes of personal circumstances, but always of artistic ingenuity.

The exhibition features fifteen artists who have responded to their circumstances by creating sculptures that are as mobile as their makers, including Louise Bourgeois, Marcel Duchamp, Barry Flanagan, Mohamad Hafez, Do Ho Suh, Andrea Zittell and new work by Claire Ashley and James Ackerley. 

Rafael Pérez Evans

February – May 2021

Rafael Pérez Evans was the recipient of the Henry Moore Institute and Leeds Beckett University scholarship in partnership with New Contemporaries 2019. Receiving a bursary, international travel grant, Fine Art teaching scholarship at Leeds Beckett University and access to workshop facilities. The scholarship concludes with this solo exhibition of new work in the Henry Moore Institute’s Gallery 4.

Rafael Pérez Evans (b. 1983, Málaga) Spanish – Welsh lives and works in London. He received a BA & MFA Fine Art from Goldsmiths College (2010 & 2020). Recent exhibitions include Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, C3A Museum, Spain and Nogueras Blanchard Gallery, Barcelona.

Fabrication Research Season
February – June 2021

The practicalities of how an artist approaches making a sculpture has often been shrouded in mystery. The relationship between artists and skilled fabricators is rarely acknowledged. Exploring the blurred lines between art, craft and industry, this Research Season will make visible the ways in which sculptors in both historical and contemporary contexts have realised their vision through processes of collaboration and exchange, and will examine ways in which making sculpture has changed, particularly in light of the recent coronavirus pandemic.

This Research Season has been organised in collaboration with Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre and the Universities of Leeds, York and Sheffield.

Julia Crabtree and William Evans

June – October 2021

This exhibition by Julia Crabtree and William Evans will feature new work in the Galleries in summer 2021. The artists use a wealth of materials to explore the possibilities of sculpture. Their work explores vital themes relevant to the making of sculpture today, including: entropy, the relationship between ecologies and the body, the virtual and the real, and the meeting point of craft and technology.

Julia Crabtree and William Evans have been collaborating for over a decade. Recent exhibitions include Cell Projects, London, Wysing Arts Centre and Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada.




For further information, images or to arrange a visit please contact:

Kara Chatten, Marketing and Communications Manager
Henry Moore Institute

Emily Dodgson, Head of Marketing and Communications
Henry Moore Foundation

Notes to Editors

The Henry Moore Institute is situated on The Headrow, next to Leeds Art Gallery, in Leeds city centre's cultural hub, just a five-minute walk from Leeds Station.

The Henry Moore Institute welcomes everyone to visit their Galleries, Research Library and Archive to experience, study and enjoy sculpture from around the world. The Institute can be found in the centre of Leeds, the city where Henry Moore (1898-1986) began his training as a sculptor. Their changing programme of historical, modern and contemporary exhibitions and events encourage thinking about what sculpture is, how it is made and the artists who make it.

As part of the Henry Moore Foundation, they are a hub for sculpture, connecting a global network of artists and scholars, continuing research into the art form and ensuring that sculpture is accessible and celebrated by a wide audience.
Twitter: @HMILeeds
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The Henry Moore Foundation was founded by the artist and his family in 1977 to encourage public appreciation of the visual arts. Today it supports innovative sculpture projects, devises an imaginative programme of exhibitions and research worldwide, and preserves the legacy of Moore himself: one of the great sculptors of the 20th century, who did so much to bring the art form to a wider audience.

Henry Moore Studios & Gardens is the home and studios of sculptor Henry Moore, in the Hertfordshire countryside where he conserved and created his internationally recognised sculptures. This rural home and studio served as a profound source of inspiration, what started off as a modest farmhouse grew to a 72-acre estate and became the epicentre of his global art presence.

Henry Moore Studios & Gardens is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11am -5pm from 4 July – 1 November 2020.

Venue details

Venue address

Henry Moore Institute
The Headrow
United Kingdom
T: 0113 246 7467

Opening times

Galleries: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am - 5pm

Research Library: Monday to Saturday, 10am - 5pm; Sunday, 1 - 5pm
Archive of Sculptors' Papers: Tuesday to Friday, by prior appointment

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