Acquisition of John Latham's 'Firenze' (1967) by Leeds Museums and Galleries
This important work by John Latham, one of the founders of British conceptualism, challenges notions of what sculpture can be and poses questions about materiality, found objects, assemblage, destruction and the production of knowledge.
John Latham (1921-2006) was a significant sculptor whose work straddled a number of important tendencies in British art of the second half of the twentieth century and his approach remains firmly relevant into the twenty-first. Latham was an important influence for both contemporaries and subsequent generations, not least through his part-time teaching position at St Martin’s School of Art.
Latham was a founder member of the Artist Placement Group, an important project for artists represented in the Leeds sculpture collection including Garth Evans and Barry Flanagan.
Firenze will be displayed at Leeds Art Gallery as part of the forthcoming major exhibition The Sculpture Collections between March and September 2018.
Dating from the early to middle phase of his career, the sculpture had been displayed as part of the recent exhibition A Lesson in Sculpture with John Latham (24 March - 19 June 2016) at the Henry Moore Institute. The chief components of Firenze are second hand books, which were deployed throughout his practice and most famously through his burning ‘skoob’ towers.
The Henry Moore Foundation awarded £12,000 towards the acquisition of Firenze (1967) by Leeds Museums and Galleries in November 2017, along with grants from the Art Fund, the V&A/ACE Purchase Grant Fund and Leeds Art Fund.