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The first retrospective for over 25 years for the celebrated post-war sculptor.
Elizabeth Frink, Riace Figure III, 1986
© Estate of Elizabeth Frink
The Lightbox, which won the Art Fund Prize in 2008 for being ‘novel, brave and full of delights,’ mounts the first Elisabeth Frink retrospective since the artist’s death in 1993. This show of her works on paper and her distinctive pitted bronzes includes the most well-known subjects – men, horses, birds and religious objects.
The artist, who grew up in wartime near an airbase in Suffolk, created some of the most evocative images of masculinity of the 20th century – anonymous warrior figures often sporting goggles, helmets or masks. They are barrel-chested, long-limbed and handsome, and variously appear conflicted, vulnerable, gung-ho and, in the case of the monumental Goggle Head busts, other-worldly, aloof and threatening.
Audiences in the 21st century may feel that her Bird of 1958, an early purchase by Tate, prefigures cinematic sensibilities; a veritably Hitchcockian projection of avian malice, it resembles nothing so much as HR Geiger’s design for the eponymous alien in Ridley Scott’s film.