Discussion of Colour in Sculpture

Round Table
17th January 1997
Seminar Room
Henry Moore Institute, Leeds

Curators and art Historians from Britain and Europe, met in the Institute on 17 January 1997 to discuss The Colour of Sculpture and its implications. Andreas Blühm introduced the day with 12 theses, arguing (among other things) that the topic of colour in sculpture necessitated a reassessment of the terms ‘author’ and ‘original’ distinctions between fine and decorative art, and the borderline between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. Tom Flynn expanded upon the unease coloured sculpture provokes, arguing that it occupies a liminal position, between the creative and the perverse, the exterior and the interior, the living and the dead. Emmanuelle Héran, however, came at the topic from an empirical point of view, assessing the popularity of coloured sculptures in museums according to people’s desire to touch them and the popularity of postcards.

The round-table raised many interesting and important issues, for example the connections between Symbolism and Surrealism, the question of the fetish and the idol, and the comparative lack of skill and imagination evident in our use of colour today.