Searching through the shelves of the university library art books I once stumbled upon a section on Henry Moore; it appeared that some of them seemed to cover the topic of memory that was associated with his sculptures, and what I did not know at the time, his drawings.
After an open office hour coversation I had with one of my tutors I have found out that Moore would have produced hundreds of memory drawings and sketches of what he has seen and experienced of the London Underground during the WWII period. They were powerful and dark depictions of people huddling and escaping for shelter; full of emotional depth, visible through the artist’s use of materials and mark-making.
This had led me on to look a bit more into them.
Foundation, H., 2019. Henry Moore Drawings: The Art Of Seeing. [online] Henry Moore Foundation. Available at: <https://www.henry-moore.org/whats-on/2019/04/03/henry-moore-drawings-the-art-of-seeing> [Accessed 14 February 2020].
- “for Moore drawing was not merely a means to an end, but also a medium for finished artwork in its own right – so much so that he was sometimes referred to as a ‘sculptor and painter’”
Perhaps, the darkness in some ways aided his memory and recall, allowing him to focus on the essence of the people there – surrounded by darkness, desperate for safety.
The figures are therefore allowed to dramatically emerge from the depths and darkness of the London Underground and other shelters – their lives like the figures in Moore’s drawings are uncertain – their fragility and faintness really shows through here.
Laying the figures next to each other in this a narrative, also allows there to be a contrast between autonomy and collectiveness of the people – this again creates a sense of uncertainty and ambiguity – our eyes are guided along the drawing stopping by each shape, uncertain of what they are seeing – Moore guides us through this allowing us to trace the ghosts’ outlines giving us the opportunity to judge and conclude what we are seeing – the recognition of the figures as people can take up to a few seconds, and isn’t always the most obvious task
YouTube. 2018. Henry Moore’s Vision. [online] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWIB_rPtTvM> [Accessed 14 February 2020].
“Shows you how to see”
- which now seems very true considering what I just said about the above drawing
- guides your eye, carefully taking you step by step, only then for you to make a conclusion on what lays before you
“The more you look at his forms the more understanding you gain about the world around you”