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Royal Academy of Arts exhibits courtyard installation od sculpture by Lynn Chadwick RA
A woman looks at a work of art by British artist Lynn Chadwick entitled 'Beast Alerted' (R) and 'Lion I' (L) as part of a Royal Academy exhibition in central London on April 14, 2014. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL.

LONDON.- The Royal Academy of Arts, in collaboration with Blain Southern gallery, London, presents a major installation in the RA Courtyard of four large-scale sculptures by Lynn Chadwick RA (1914 - 2003) to celebrate the centenary of his birth.

Lynn Chadwick emerged with the second wave of British modernists during the 1950s. He was one of the leading British sculptors of the 20th century and was best known for his abstract bronze works that were often inspired by the human form and the natural world. His sculpture features in major international public collections, including the Royal Academy of Arts, London; the Museums of Modern Art, New York; Tate, London; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; and the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh. He became a senior Royal Academician in 2001.

The courtyard installation exhibits a selection of Chadwick’s series of steel beasts that were made between 1989-1990. Entitled Beast Alerted I, Stretching Beast I, Crouching Beast II, and Lion I each sculpture takes on a different state of action. This is the first time that this group of sculptures have been shown together in public.

Lynn Chadwick’s choice of subject can be traced back to his creation of Beast I, one of the works that helped earn him the International Prize for Sculpture at the XXVIII Venice Biennale in 1956. Compared to his early works depicting biomorphic shapes with only a suggestion of plant or animal origins, the beasts present a more direct approach to form and his use of steel marks a departure from the majority of his works, which were also cast in bronze. The sculptures are origami-like in their appearance, where triangular sheets of steel are welded together around an armature to create the shape of the animal. Chadwick delighted in the new formal properties that steel afforded as it emphasised the play on light and shadow. To accentuate this, the steel was brushed rather than polished, so that some facet of the sculptures would catch and reflect the light whatever the weather.

Developing the steel beasts was the first time Chadwick had to make conventional maquettes as he did not have the tools or the knowledge to construct in stainless steel himself. Small preliminary models were made and then scaled up for the final version. To coincide with the RA Courtyard installation, an exhibition of Chadwick’s major bronze works and steel maquettes will be on display at Blain Southern, London from 1 May – 28 June, as one of three simultaneous retrospective shows in London, Berlin and New York.

Lynn Chadwick’s widow, Eva Chadwick, said: “On this centenary of my husband's birth I am happy, together with all the Chadwick family, to see an exhibition of the stainless steel beasts in the courtyard of the Royal Academy. He was elected Senior Royal Academician in 2001 and with this latest accolade we are indeed honoured and wish to thank all concerned.”

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