Towards a New Laocoon

13 May 2007 – 12 Aug 2007

Henry Moore Institute

Leeds, United Kingdom


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Few sculptures have had such an enduring impact as the Laocoon. The Antique group - which depicts the Trojan priest Laocoon and his sons in the grip of two giant snakes - was rediscovered in 1506 and almost immediately put on show in the Vatican. Since that time artists and writers have succumbed to its fascination, and its inspirational quality is the subject of this Henry Moore Institute exhibition. Eduardo Paolozzi, Tony Cragg and Richard Deacon have each made a number of works which respond to or mirror the fascination of the Laocoon. Paolozzi was fascinated by our classical heritage, and owned his own small-scale cast of the group. His works variously re-define its serpentine coils and imprisoned forms. Cragg's works also focus on the forms which are caught up by the snakes, binding them together in an endless deadly embrace but rendered in everyday, found objects. Deacon's monumental 'Laocoon' similarly plays on the quality of time by locking straight and curved wooden sections into one great continuous spiral.

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