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The Hepworth Wakefield Exhibition

Alina Szapocznikow: Human Landscapes is the first UK retrospective of the work of the much-overlooked Polish artist Alina Szapocznikow. The exhibition features more than 100 works created between 1956 and 1972 including drawings, photography and sculpture, incorporating Szapocznikow’s characteristic use of cast body parts, many of which she transformed into everyday objects like lamps or ashtrays.

 

 

Process

vPPR’s proposal consists of clusters of translucent fabric screens that thematically group artworks, whilst maintaining visual connections to other works beyond through the visual transparency. The design is a direct reference to Alina Szapocznikow’s own studio where the artist used translucent partitions to frame, photograph and protect artworks. The artist investigates the human body, whose work is displayed in chronological order across four exhibition spaces. While her early work is more classical and figurative, her later work is increasingly materially and formally experimental, often distorting the human body. The architectural screens are designed to reinforce the conceptual progressions within her work in the two main exhibition rooms: the earlier room consists of rectilinear screens, with fabric gradienting from pale blue to medium blue to dark blue; the later room consists of curved panels that gradient from pale pink to medium pink to dark maroon. The screens are modular metal framed panels which are deployed in various configurations to help visitors navigate through the space, bring order and narrative to the works, create connections between past and future through the visual transparency, and also display archival photographs in fabric display vitrines. The layered views across the rooms through the screens and attached vitrines facilitate new ways of viewing the works, for example drawing attention to the profiles and silhouettes of artworks through the abstraction of the fabric versus the intricate textures when viewed direct.

Photograph © Lewis Ronald