Richard Wentworth

(b. 1947)

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(1947– )

British sculptor, born in Samoa. He studied at Hornsey College of Art and the Royal College of Art and also, for a time, worked with Henry Moore. One of the artists identified with New British Sculpture, he uses objects in a paradoxical manner. He has commented that ‘I try very hard to make my objects look matter of fact’, and unlike much sculpture made from detritus, his work has a clean, precise look to it. 35°9, 32°18 (1985, Tate) consists of a bent steel ladder, recovered from a building site, combined with a cable ladder. Placed against the wall, one looks like a shadow of the other. The title is the latitude and longitude of the site, thought to be the place where Jacob had his dream of the ladder ascending to heaven. Making Do and Getting By and Occasional Geometries (1973–2007, Tate) is a long-running series of photographs of ‘accidental sculptures’ found by Wentworth on the streets, such as an old desk crammed in a doorway or a drink can and a plastic tray spiked on railings. The work can be regarded as an extension of the Surrealists' discovery of poetic moments on the streets of Paris, but it also follows from the enquiries of British sculptors during the late 1960s, such as Richard Long and Bruce McClean, as to how far the conception of sculpture could be taken.

Further Reading

M. Warner, Richard Wentworth (1994)

Subjects: Art.

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