Kenneth Armitage (1916-2002)
People in the wind
One artist discussed in my dissertation was the British 20th Century sculptor Kenneth Armitage. His piece People in the wind, displayed in the 1952 Venice Biennale as part of the New Aspects of British Sculpture exhibition, shows a small group of figures walking determinedly against the wind. The features of these characters are highly distorted with small heads, long necks and their limbs unnaturally placed on their bodies. The piece, while being slightly humorous, is a show of strain and a imbalance that could possibly be a reference to Armitage’s experiences in the Second World War where he had worked teaching aircraft and tank identification (features of aeroplanes and weaponry could be read into the forms of the figures).
I have mentioned Kenneth Armitage and his people in the wind for the distinctive use of the figure to show emotions and expression despite relatively few features. The movement he was involved in, The Geometry of Fear, are largely known for their emotive and personal works with Armitage’s cast being a prime example.
Recently while making figurative work i have aimed to communicate a sense of emotion with as little detail as possible, my use of welded steel over casting removes much of the human element but through the use of posture, features and exaggeration of form i hope to give across a clear personality and relatability to the figures i am depicting.
The sculpture is a bronze cast measuring 648 x 400 x 343 mm and is displayed on a plinth.