Shaping Modern Sculpture: Stephen Gilbert and Jocelyn Chewett in post-war Paris

5 February – 15 April 2006

Exhibition in the Upper Sculpture Study Gallery, Leeds Art Gallery

A new angle on post-war constructivism and geometric abstraction with the first British exhibition of the work of Stephen Gilbert and Jocelyn Chewett.

Husband and wife, Gilbert and Chewett left London in 1946 to pursue their artistic vision in Paris, a city that was then at the centre of the modern art world. They established studios in Montparnasse, where Gilbert still remains today, 25 years after the death of his wife.

In the immediate post-war decades they entered into the discussion of British and Continental constructivism, infusing this cross-channel dialogue into their own practices as they developed their distinctive vocabularies of modern abstract sculpture.

Their work in the 1950s approached geometric abstraction from different but complementary positions: Gilbert through the articulation of spatial compositions and Chewett through the cutting of solid material. Chewett’s small-scale sculptures subtly carved in marble and limestone have the look of Vantongerloo; Gilbert’s constructed colourful welded ‘space-frames’ hover between sculpture and architecture. This was a combination he explored further with a number of proposals for houses and apartment blocks.

This show presents a unique opportunity to experience sculpture which has gone largely unseen. Unearthed from the depths of their studios, the work inserts itself with remarkable freshness into the international debate on the form of modern sculpture in the 1950s and 60s.

Sculptures, architectural models and works on paper are included; the majority of Gilbert’s work coming directly from Paris and Chewett’s from the collection of the University of East Anglia.


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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