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Gaudier-Brzeska’s work celebrated in Cambridge and Leeds, UK

— March 2015

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Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Red Stone Dancer, 1913–14 (cast, 1969), Kettle’s Yard.

New Rhythms: Henri Gaudier-Brzeska: Art, Dance and Movement in London 1911–1915’

Tuesday 17 March 2015– Sunday 21 June 2015

Kettle's Yard, Cambridge
, UK

Alexander Archipenko, David Bomberg,   Jacob Epstein, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Percy Wyndham Lewis, William Roberts, Auguste Rodin   and Helen Saunders

2015 marks 100 years since Henri Gaudier-Brzeska died aged 23 in the First World War.  His sculpture and drawings reveal an artist constantly experimenting as he sought to capture through art the energy he saw in life.

'A monster descended from the stars' – Sophie Brzeska on Red Stone Dancer by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska

'Sculpture consists of placing planes according to a rhythm' Gaudier-Brzeska 1911

This major exhibition marks the centenary of the death in the First World War of the French-born sculptor and draughtsman Henri Gaudier-Brzeska   (1891–1915). Gaudier-Brzeska moved permanently to London in January 1911. He made a significant contribution to the development of modern sculpture, as one of the key members of the Vorticist movement and by influencing a later generation of sculptors. His precocious artistic talent was cut short by his death at the age of 23 while fighting for the French army in Neuville St Vaast, France, in 1915. As  the poet Ezra Pound wrote in 1916: ‘A great spirit has been among us, and a great artist is gone’.

This exhibition is the first to explore the artist’s engagement with dance and movement. ‘New Rhythms’ brings together sculpture, drawing, photography, film, and archive material, combining the strengths of Kettle’s Yard’s sculpture and drawing collections with important loans from national and international institutions. The exhibition includes work by Gaudier-Brzeska’s contemporaries David Bomberg, Jacob Epstein, Percy Wyndham Lewis, William Roberts, Auguste Rodin, Helen Saunders and others who engaged with the subject of dance.

Kettle’s Yard holds one of the largest collections of sculptures and drawings by Gaudier-Brzeska, acquired by the creator of Kettle’s Yard, Jim Ede in 1929. Ede went on to write the first seminal biography of Gaudier- Brzeska ‘Savage Messiah’ in 1930, using the letters that were exchanged between Gaudier-Brzeska and his partner Sophie Brzeska.

New Rhythmstakes as its starting point Gaudier‐ Brzeska’s two contrasting sculptures Red Stone Dancer and Dancer. The exhibition looks in detail at the inspirations for the two sculptures of 1913, using them as studies for a wider exploration of the artist’s interests in the subject and the cultural milieu in which he was working. For example, his engagement with the dynamic performances of the Ballets Russes is brought to the fore through his bronze Firebird (1912).

As well as exploring dance, New Rhythms will investigate the artist’s wider fascination with motion, the physical dynamism of bodily movement, and wrestling. The new dance trends that exploded onto pre‐war London stages and screens such as Apache dance from Paris and Tango, and performances by the Ballets Russes, will be represented through photographs, printed sources and film. The show culminates by asking how Gaudier‐Brzeska’s dancers can inspire new rhythms now, through a contemporary dance and music commission. The work by Malgorzata Dzierzon, performed to new music commissioned from emerging composer Kate Whitley, will feature in the exhibition through film.

This will be the final exhibition at Kettle’s Yard before closing for a major development of the site and offers a chance for visitors to enjoy the house and an exhibition intimately linked to it and the permanent collection.For more about the development plans and off site activity see the gallery’s website.

The exhibition will tour with selected works to Harewood House, Leeds, from 11 July to 1 November 2015. Exhibition supported by the Henry Moore Foundation.


Most of the artists mentioned above are discussed in ‘Blasting off with the Vorticists’, Cassone, July 2011


Follow that link and register free of charge to read the article and the rest of Cassone.

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