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Sculpture & Poetry

Release date: Thursday, 7 October 2021

    Kara Chatten

    • By Kara Chatten
    • Henry Moore Institute
    • Marketing & Communications Manager (Leeds)
    • A new partnership between the Henry Moore Institute, the University of Leeds and Corridor8.

    • Microsite launching for National Poetry Day on 7 October 2021.

    • The Sculpture & Poetry Research Season comprises a series of free online events running until February 2022

    “We’re thrilled to be hosting this series of events, which showcases the enormous range of innovative practices across these two art forms and the explosion of creativity that occurs when they meet. It promises to be a hugely exciting season.”

    Dr Clare O’Dowd, Research Curator at the Henry Moore Institute

    Sculpture and poetry are two of the oldest known art forms. The connections between them are many and layered yet often seem to hide in plain sight, buried by division and specialism. This six-month research season celebrates practitioners, writers and scholars who explore these connections, bringing together two academic conferences and four public events featuring online in conversations between renowned poets, writers and artists working in sculpture.

    “The histories that connect these two art forms are many and layered, but weirdly under-discussed. I hope we can play some role in helping to change that, and show one way of making that change through conversations that foreground practices and connections across generations, places, mediums and disciplines. I’m delighted that this programme has come together, and that it will generate a public reference resource for anyone to use.”

    Nick Thurston, co-convener of Sculpture & Poetry and Associate Professor of Fine Art at the University of Leeds

    A free-to-access microsite developed with Corridor8 and Dust Collective will form a digital archive for the season, hosting writing and scholarship alongside event recordings and new responses to the programme. In line with Corridor8’s commitment to supporting new art writing in the North of England, four new commissions from Northern-based writers and artists will respond to the event programme.

    “This is a timely project at the intersection of sculpture and poetry, and we are excited to publish new content in response to the themes, ideas and issues that bubble up throughout the programme. We have an excellent set of writers/artists lined up who will bring their own practices and concerns to the table.”

    Lara Eggleton, Managing Editor at Corridor8

    Sculpture & Poetry microsite

    A free-to-access, dynamic microsite, developed with our media partner Corridor8, forms a digital archive for this season.

    It serves as a searchable resource for the whole programme as it grows, creates connections between content and themes, and includes comprehensive bios and reference material.

    Further information and events

    Conference: New Voices: Sculpture & Literature
    20-21 October 2021

    Organised by the Association for Art History in partnership with the Henry Moore Institute and the University of Leeds

    Keynote Speakers: Hannah Black (Independent Artist, Berlin) and Dr Eleanor Dobson (University of Birmingham)

    Sculpture and literature are often separated by a disciplinary divide but have also come together in works and ideas as wide ranging as monuments, poetry and performances. This conference will build on a growing body of scholarship exploring what can be gained from working at the intersection of sculpture and literature. Is it possible to think or write ‘sculpturally’? Can sculpture be considered ‘literary’ in terms of theory or theme?

    The Association for Art History’s New Voices is a two-day annual conference that highlights current postgraduate and early doctoral research from around the world, organised by the Association’s Doctoral and Early Career Research Committee (DECR) in partnership with the Henry Moore Institute and the University of Leeds.

    Sculpture & Poetry Events Series

    Each event brings together two acclaimed practitioners from different backgrounds to discuss how their work combines a care for materiality with a desire to stretch language. Chaired by Nick Thurston (Associate Professor in Fine Art, University of Leeds), the four events are artistic ‘blind dates’, establishing a series of new conversations. Our guests come from across four generations and five continents. They work with many languages and almost as many disciplines, including installation art, dance, performance poetry, ceramics, textiles and digital literature. All events will feature solo presentations and live conversations held online. Extra reference resources for each guest and an evolving package of engagement activities for schools and families will be available to access on the project microsite.

    Bodily Poetries: Raymond Antrobus and Heather Philipson
    17 November 2021, 6pm

    Raymond Antrobus is a poet and educator. His diverse work ranges from sign language to video. He explores hearing, heritage and a search for ‘missing sounds’ by drawing on vernacular speech, multi-cultural histories and the physiology of listening. Heather Phillipson is an artist and poet. She works across sculpture, video, music, drawing and digital media. Her ‘quantum thought experiments’ explore our entanglement in ecosystems and the fragility of our ideas about them. Together, they will discuss ‘the body’ as a locus for speaking, writing, feeling, listening and making.   

    Performance Poetries: Vahni Capildeo and Simone Forti
    15 December 2021, 6pm

    Vahni Capildeo is a writer and editor. Their work ranges from book-length poems to experiments with performance, exploring voices, landscapes and movement between languages, cultures and places. Simone Forti is a dancer, artist and writer. Her work ranges from open choreographic systems to drawing. She uses improvisational techniques to explore everyday gestures, technologies and animality. Together, the artists will discuss the cultural histories of collaboration, instruction, translation and recording they adapt. 

    Material Poetries: Simone Fattal and Maggie O'Sullivan
    19 January 2022, 6pm

    Simone Fattal is an artist and ceramicist. Her work ranges from painting to stoneware. Her work explores symbols of home and displacement that span the personal and mythic via archaeology and figuration. Maggie O’Sullivan is a poet and artist. Her work ranges from experimental verse to textile sculptures, in which she explores connections between the visual and aural qualities of languages as they animate complex issues of voice, voicelessness and presence. Together, they will discuss the stories and echoes we excavate when using materials or languages that have complex histories.

    Media Poetries: Luis Camnitzer and Tan Lin
    9 February 2022, 6pm 

    Luis Camnitzer is an artist and writer. His work ranges from gallery installations to cultural criticism, exploring systems of power, ideologies of education and the public value of art through an overtly political model of Conceptualism. Tan Lin is a poet and artist. His work ranges from fiction writing to video, from ‘ambient literature’ to memoir, in which he explores the hybridity of cultural experiences through personal, material and technical processes of recall. Together, they will discuss the binds between form, content and context that shape the impact of public language.

    Conference: Sculpture & Poetry 
    23-24 February 2022

    Organised by the Henry Moore Institute with Nick Thurston (Associate Professor in Fine Art, University of Leeds)

    Keynote Speakers: Olaf Nicolai (Conceptual artist and literary scholar) and Slavs and Tartars (Art Collective, Berlin)  

    Medium-specific designations can seem anachronistic, even incoherent within the post-medium, post-digital, hybrid nature of both contemporary art and literature. Nonetheless, both sculpture and poetry have specific genealogies of practice and reception, and both are currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Why and how, at the present moment, might two of the oldest artforms have become the locus for some of the most radical practices? 

    Organised by Nick Thurston (University of Leeds) in collaboration with the Henry Moore Institute, this two-day virtual conference will support international speakers from a range of disciplines to think against epistemological borders between art history and theory and literary studies, comparative literature and linguistics.

    For further information, images and interviews please contact: 

    Kara Chatten, Marketing and Communications Manager
    Henry Moore Institute

    Emily Dodgson, Head of Marketing and Communications
    Henry Moore Foundation

    Fiona Russell, Senior Account Director

    Notes to Editors

    About the Henry Moore Institute

    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.

    We welcome everyone to visit our Galleries, Research Library and Archive of Sculptors’ Papers 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. Our 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, we 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.

    Free entry
    Open Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am – 5pm
    Closed Bank Holidays

    The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3AH

    Twitter: @HMILeeds
    Facebook: Henry Moore Institute
    Instagram: Henry Moore Institute
    Vimeo: henrymoore

    About the partnerships

    Nick Thurston is a writer and editor who makes artworks. He is the author of two experimental books, Reading the Remove of Literature (2006) and Of the Subcontract (2013), the latter of which has been translated into Dutch (2016), Spanish (2019) and German (2020). He writes regularly for the literary and arts press as well as for independent and academic publications. His most recent book is the co-edited collection Post-Digital Cultures of the Far Right (2018). His recent exhibitions include shows at Transmediale (Berlin, 2018), Q21 (Vienna, 2018), MuHKA (Antwerp, 2018) and HMKV (Dortmund, 2019). He is Associate Professor of Fine Art at the University of Leeds where he co-founded the Artists’ Writings & Publications research centre and is a fellow of the Poetry Centre. 

    This project has been supported by the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies and Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute at the University of Leeds, which is internationally recognised as a global centre for research in the arts and humanities.

    Corridor8 is a not-for-profit platform for contemporary visual arts and writing in the North of England. They publish reviews, features, interviews and exploratory writing, and are dedicated to producing high quality content that reflects the vibrant art scenes and cultural events taking place across the North of England.

    Twitter: Corridor8
    Facebook: Corridor8
    Instagram: corridor8 



    Venue details

    Venue address

    Henry Moore Institute
    The Headrow
    LS1 3AH
    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