The Body Extended: Sculpture and Prosthetics

21 July – 23 October 2016

Exhibition in Galleries 1, 2 and 3

Throughout history human beings have sought to extend and supplement their own form to move faster and reach further. The Body Extended: Sculpture and Prosthetics traces how artists have addressed radical changes to the very thing we humans know best: our bodies.

Presenting over seventy artworks, objects and images spanning the late-nineteenth century to the present day, this exhibition explores how sculpture and medical science have augmented the analogue human figure, expanding its reach and power.

Outside the Henry Moore Institute, on the city's busiest thoroughfare, is a sculpture made for the exhibition by British artist Rebecca Warren, co-commissioned with 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions. As the artist describes the work, it is a weighty, raw bronze sculpture, mainly of legs made of extreme convexities of muscle, set on a rudimentary bronze wheeled platform, taking (or showing) one monumental stride.

During the First World War prosthetics technology rapidly advanced. As shattered soldiers became a familiar sight in public life after 1914, both artists and surgeons alike sought to remake what had been lost. Sculptors Anna Coleman Ladd and Francis Derwent Wood worked directly with surgeons, creating facial masks for soldiers injured in the trenches, with our display presenting two examples of these, while in contrast artists including Alice Lex-Nerlinger and Jacob Epstein show the horrors of the new machine-human.

Alongside examples of prostheses from the collections of the Freud Museum, Hunterian Museum, Imperial War Museum, Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds and the V&A, The Body Extended: Sculpture and Prosthetics features work by artists who directly address the relationship between sculpture and prosthetics. Prostheses recur in the life and work of Louise Bourgeois, with her work drawing on her own experiences and childhood traumas. A single leg (1985), named after Bourgeois' sister Henriette, is suspended in space surrounded by the body extensions of Rebecca Horn, Matthew Barney and Oskar Schlemmer, among others.

The full list of artists and makers included in The Body Extended: Sculpture and Prosthetics are:

Bruce Angrave (1914-83)
Matthew Barney (b. 1967)
Yael Bartana (b. 1970)
Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010)
Martin Boyce (b. 1967)
Stuart Brisley (b. 1933)
Anna Coleman Ladd (1878-1939)
Francis Derwent Wood (1871-1926)
Jacob Epstein (1880-1959)
Charles and Ray Eames (1907-78 / 1916-88)
James Gillingham (1837-1924)
Heinrich Hoerle (1895-1936)
Rebecca Horn (b. 1944)
Michael Kienzer (b. 1962)
Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957)
Alice Lex-Nerlinger (1893-1975)
Horace Nicholls (1877-1942)
Walter Pichler (1936-2012)
Oskar Schlemmer (b. Germany, 1888-1943)
Hugh Steeper Ltd
Rebecca Warren (b. 1965)
Franz West (1947-2012)

Rebecca Warren's sculpture has been co-commissioned with 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England and by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport.

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
Archive of Sculptors' Papers: Tuesday to Friday, by prior appointment