Breaking The Mould – an Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition

The Exhibition, which explores the work of fifty female sculptors over seventy years, visits Longside Gallery at Yorkshire Sculpture Park on 29 May until 5 September.

Breaking the Mould ‘provides a radical recalibration, addressing the many accounts of British sculpture that have marginalised women or airbrushed their work out of the art historical canon altogether.’ The works use a wide range of materials which include salt, flowers, paper, ceramic and even hair.  

Participating artists are: Anthea Alley, Phyllida Barlow, Rana Begum, Helen Chadwick, Alice Channer, Lygia Clark, Shelagh Cluett, Susan Collis, Jane Coyle, Katie Cuddon, Sokari Douglas Camp, Rose Finn-Kelcey, Jessie Flood-Paddock, Elisabeth Frink, Anya Gallaccio, Katherine Gili, Anthea Hamilton, Mona Hatoum, Jann Haworth, Holly Hendry, Barbara Hepworth, Shirazeh Houshiary, Karin Jonzen, Permindar Kaur, Mary Kelly, Liliane Lijn, Kim Lim, Gillian Lowndes, Sarah Lucas, Helen Marten, Mary Martin, Cathy de Monchaux, Lucia Nogueira, Margaret Organ, Emma Park, Cornelia Parker, Amalia Pica, Kathy Prendergast, Eva Rothschild, Meg Rutherford, Veronica Ryan, Grace Schwindt, Wendy Taylor, Hayley Tompkins, Shelagh Wakely, Rebecca Warren, Rachel Whiteread, Alison Wilding and Rosemary Young.

Rana Begum in her studio.

The Southbank Centre manages the Arts Council Collection’s 250 sculptures by over 150 women, and has selected works to highlight the Collection’s long-term commitment to women working in sculpture using a variety of practices and new approaches, thereby challenging the perception of sculpting being biased towards a male occupation.

The first work by a sculptor to be purchased for the Collection was a drawing by Barbara Hepworth, Reconstruction (1947), which is included in the exhibition alongside her wooden sculpture Icon, 1957. Since then, sculpture by women has been consistently acquired for the Collection, and this exhibition will show some to the public for the first time.

Deborah Smith, Director of the Arts Council Collection: “As part of our 75th anniversary programme, Breaking the Mould celebrates the Collection’s unique relationship with sculpture made by women since 1946. This is the largest survey of its kind to date; it demonstrates the breadth and depth of works in our collection and our ongoing commitment to reflecting diversity within our acquisitions and programmes.” 

Cornelia Parker, Fleeting Monument, 1985

Breaking the Mould has been initiated in response to Women Working in Sculpture from 1960 to the Present Day: Towards a New Lexicon, a research project led by Catherine George (University of Coventry) and Hilary Gresty (independent).

The exhibition is also supported by a range of resources and activities for everyone and a series of engaging events at Longside Gallery during the course of the show.

Feature photograph shows Wendy Taylor in her studio in 1980.

Adam Kershaw

Adam combines his interest in Leeds with a flair for writing discovered back in school days. He says he'll tackle any topic as long as it's Leeds.

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