The Sculpture Show: Fifty Sculptors at the Serpentine and the South Bank

Serpentine Gallery 13 Aug — 9 Oct 1983 Free

For the first time, the Hayward Gallery and the Serpentine Gallery joined forces for a major exhibition.

The Sculpture Show was the largest exhibition of work by living sculptors ever held in Britain at the time. The exhibition filled both galleries and stretched beyond their walls to the South Bank and Kensington Gardens.

For this exhibition, the selectors Paul de Monchaux, Fenella Crichton, and Kate Blacker did not set out to provide a survey, but rather based their selection on what they considered to be of significance within sculpture of the day.

The selection process started with an open submission, to which 400 artists applied. Almost half of the selected exhibitors came from the open submission.

Most of the works were specially made for the exhibition and their location. The show gave the sculptors the opportunity to work on a public scale, with a view to presenting the work to a large audience. This outdoor section made an important contribution to the renewed interest in public sculpture.

Works included in the Serpentine Gallery section of the exhibition were Culbert’s Small Glass, Pouring Light, Richard Deacon’s Two can play, and Laura Ford’s Sea Slugs inside the gallery; and David Nash’s Sod Swap, William Tucker’s Victory, and Kevin Atherton’s Three Bronze Deckchairs outside in Kensington Gardens.

In gathering together so much contemporary work, some of it on a colossal scale, this exhibition offered a unique opportunity to see what was happening in sculpture at the time.

Serpentine Gallery: Michael Sandle, Richard Long, Bill Culbert, Paul de Monchaux, Laura Ford, Garth Evans, Richard Deacon

Kensington Gardens: Richard Cole, David Nash, William Tucker, Andy Frost, Christine Angus, Hilary Cartmel, Kevin Atherton, John Cobb

Hayward Gallery: Kate Blacker, Richard Long, Gerard de Thame, Joel Fisher, Roger Partridge, Shirazeh Houshiary, Yoko Terauchi, Antony Gormley, Judith Cowan, Anish Kapoor, Carl Plackman, Stephen Willats, Bill Woodrow, John Aiken, Tony Cragg, Boyd Webb, Jean-Luc Vilmouth, Julian Opie, Richard Wentworth, Stephen Cox, Edward Allington, Michael Kenny, Nigel Hall, Andy Frost, Audio Arts, Alison Wilding, Emma Park, Kenneth Draper, Richard Wincer

South Bank: Rachel Fenner, John Cobb, Sarah Bradpiece, David Mach, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Anne Nicholson, John Maine, Richard Harris, Raf Fulcher

The accompanying publication listed 48 participating artists, and the list printed in the accompanying brochure featured 52 artists. The Serpentine Gallery’s records indicate that 53 artists were included in the final exhibition, though it is unclear if some artists were working collaboratively.

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