Relief No.1 1959 (LH 450)


height 223.5cm

Norton Simon Art Foundation M.1969.29.S

Renaissance sculptors used relief pictorially. They reduced depth almost mathematically. They had the same use of perspective as painters. For some time I’ve thought one might use relief in its own way, to exploit the projection and recession of form and make it more powerful in relief than in realistic rendering of compressed representation. To make the chest more strong, to make it come out more, you send it back underneath. You bring the hips out more, and the umbilicus. One has made the projections and recessions for their own sakes rather than for a pictorial use of relief. That requires as big a sense of space as if one had made a whole sculpture in the round. Form is indivisible. The understanding of three-dimensional form involves all points of view about form – space, interior, and exterior form, pressure from within; they’re all one and the same big problem. They’re all mixed up with the human thing, with one’s own body and how one thinks about everything. This talk of representational and non-representational art, spatial and non-spatial sculpture, is all nonsense. There’s no cutting it up into separate compartments. It’s all one.

Moore quoted in Henry Moore on Sculpture; edited by Philip James, Da Capo Press, New York, 1992, page 294.