Michael Sandle

(b. 1936)

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(1936– )

British sculptor and printmaker, active mainly in Germany. He was born in Weymouth, the son of a naval officer, and studied at Douglas School of Art and Technology, Isle of Man, 1951–4. After doing his National Service in the Royal Artillery, he studied printmaking at the Slade School, London, 1956–9, then briefly worked as a lithographer in Paris. During the 1960s he taught at various art colleges in Britain and Canada, then in 1973 settled in Germany to teach at Pforzheim. In 1980 he became professor of sculpture at the Karlsruhe Academy. Sandle has concentrated on producing large, elaborate, carefully crafted works (typically in bronze) that echo the tradition of 19th-century public monuments but in a modern idiom and an anti-authoritarian vein; instead of glorifying events, they attack the abuse of power. The best known is probably A Twentieth Century Memorial (1971–8, Tate), a gigantic Mickey Mouse with a machine gun in bronze, brass, and wood, a savage commemoration of the Vietnam War. As a protest against the Iraq War, in 2006 he showed a large drawing at the Royal Academy summer exhibition of Tony and Cherie Blair being expelled from 10 Downing Street like Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. In 1997 he had resigned from the Academy in protest against its showing a controversial exhibition of contemporary art (see Sensation), but he was re-elected in 2004.

Further Reading

F. Maddocks, ‘In the Studio: Michael Sandle RA’, RA Magazine (autumn 2007)

Subjects: Art.

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