Curated by Dr Rowan Bailey
Huddersfield Art Gallery
Friday 16 October 2015 – Saturday 09 January 2016

Thought Positions in Sculpture presents contemporary artists who have encountered the archive through the stories of their own art practice. The physical exhibition at Huddersfield Art Gallery refers to existing works of art from Leeds Museums and Galleries Sculpture Collection, archival material from the Henry Moore Institute, digitised archival material from the Tate Gallery, audio material from the British Library and other archival sites, some of which are inventions by the artist themselves.

Intended as a starting point for thinking in, with and through the archive, the exhibition serves as a platform and context for different narratives of sculptural thinking. Over the duration of three months, conversation pieces will be generated through this website alongside the physical work on display at Huddersfield Art Gallery.

Thought Positions in Sculpture features the following artists: Brass Art are an artist collective who explore the Freud Museum house, London as an archive site for capturing uncanny resonances through digital sculptural forms. Desmond Brett explores the notion of ‘assemblage’ through the photographic archives of Eileen Agar and Paul Nash. Liadin Cooke responds to the parallels of her own sculptural thinking in relation to Geoffrey Clarke (Leeds Sculpture Collection/Henry Moore Institute archive). Sheila Gaffney stages her own thought position through the object relations she believes are in play in the evolution of twentieth century British sculpture. Juliet MacDonald addresses Henry Fehr’s memorial ‘Head of Victory’ (Leeds Sculpture Collection). Nicola Redmore encounters some of the plaster works of Kenneth Armitage (Leeds Sculpture Collection) and digitised archival materials from the Tate Gallery. Hester Reeve listens to the audio interviews from the ‘Artists’ Lives’ project at the British Library to address the concept of ‘sculptural substance’. Lisa Stansbie explores a series of swimming machine patents from Google to produce her own sculptures. Jill Townsley, a sculptor influenced by serialisation, engages with the processes of making an archive through the retrieval of stones from the West Yorkshire landscape.

Header image above: Glass plated slide of Germaine Richier’s L’Eau from the Leslie Cowan Collection by kind permission from the National Arts Education Archive@YSP. ©ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London, 2015.

Artists’ Writing

Each artist in the exhibition will write a personal narrative about their work that reveals the unique backstories to the making of art; through the archival content addressed, the practice-led strategies deployed and the thought positions formed. Follow the dates for the emergence of new thought positions by the artists.


Sheila Gaffney

Reflections on the Good, the Bad and the Ugly


Juliet MacDonald

Displaying the Head of Victory