Before I go to China . . . Henry Moore

Just a quick post before I leave for Beijing in a few hours time.

I had a few hours spare yesterday morning, before I had to go to the airport to pick my parents up from their holiday, so I made a swift trip over to Kew Gardens to see the Henry Moore show.

Large Reclining Figure, 1984

Henry Moore, Large Reclining Figure, 1984

This is a great collection of 28 sculptures, placed within the landscaping of these botanical gardens. There is a real sense of these pieces working well with their surroundings. And it’s good to see them being used!

Despite the warnings, the pieces were being used as playgrounds by children who had been dragged along by their parents. I felt annoyed at first that I wasn’t able to appreciate the pieces in some kind of ‘pure’ state, without the distraction of people clambering over them, but I soon realised this was a great way to appreciate the pieces, by interacting with them, not just viewing them from afar in stately isolation.

Of course, this brings up questions about the preservation of art, questions which usually seem to be concerned with commercial value (as in “to touch a piece will reduce it’s value”), but I actually think we shouldn’t be so precious about these works where a physical relationship adds so much to the appreciation.