28 Critical Reflections: random 1 t0 7

But the first thing to make clear is that a specular reflection cannot be taken as a sign if one follows the definition given in this book. Not only can it not be properly called an image (since it is a virtual image, and therefore not a material expression) but even granted the existence of the image it must be admitted that it does not stand for something else:on the contrary it stands in front of something else, it exists not instead of but because of the presence of that something: when that something disappears the pseudo-image in the mirror disappears too.[3]

The inside of River Form is not reminiscent of something formed by the flow of water. There are angles and worked surfaces that suggest deliberate, mindful workings; there are circles Ö[4]

Carving is interrelated masses conveying an emotion; a perfect relationship between the mind and the colour, light and weight which is the stone, made by the hand which feels. It must be so essentially sculpture that it can exist in no other way, something completely the right size but which has growth, something still and yet having movement, so very quiet and yet with a real vitality.[7]

River Form reminds the viewer of a pebble that has been gently shaped by the currents of a churning river. The piece is a contemplation of water, space and the sky. The artistís interest in exploring the void and the interaction between positive and negative space is evident in the cutaway interior which gives the impression of having evolved over time.[1]

And the play of inside against/with outside, the seeing through, the laid bare view, makes everything that is around part of the sculpture too.[4]

There is an inside and an outside to every form. When they are in special accord, as for instance a nut in its shell or a child in the womb, or in the structure of shells or crystals, or when one senses the architecture of bones in the human figure, then I am most drawn to the effect of light. Every shadow cast by the sun from an ever-varying angle reveals the harmony of the inside to outside.[7]

Regarding Hepworth's River Form, I get alien, extra terrestrial, other- or even non-worldly: something this world could not 'naturally' produce: spacecraft, alien, non-human edifice. And yet I can take the alien view, I can see out the portholes, glimpse the alien view from the exposed innards. Paradoxically, the alien structures, Hepworth's sculptures in her garden, sit wonderfully, Barthesian blissfully well in our 'natural' world. They accentuate what 'just happens to be' as if it were special: which it, of course, is.[4]

28 Critical Reflections random 8 to 14
Back to Clive's home page

Sources

[1] http://www.neworleanspast.com/art/id62.html

[2] Ken MacLeod, Reflective Surfaces, New Scientist, 2009.

[3] Umberto Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, Indiana University Press, 1979.

[4] Clive Fencott, Reflections on seeing River Form in Barbra Hepworth's garden in St. Ives.

[5] http://www.flickr.com/photos/nigelhomer/316548379/

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specular_highlight

[7] http://www.barbarahepworth.org.uk/texts/

[8] tripadvisor.co.uk