Firenze is a major work by John Latham, the celebrated pioneer of British conceptual art.

The sculpture incorporates secondhand books, a key material in Latham’s work, and marks the start of his experimentation with expanding foam. Latham was born in Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia (now Maramba, Zambia) and served in the Second World War before training as an artist in London. He studied first at the Regent Street Polytechnic and then at Chelsea School of Art. In the 1950s Latham became known for his paintings made with spray cans, and later for his event-based work. He began to use books in his sculptural practice in 1958, most famously creating his ‘skoob’ towers, which he then set on fire. Firenze comprises a pile of books, which appear to have been attacked and rendered unreadable by expanding foam and rusty pipes. This work is a significant addition to the Leeds sculpture collection, one of the most important public collections of British sculpture, managed in partnership with the Henry Moore Institute, a centre for the study of the medium.


The estate of John Latham via Lisson Gallery.

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