Neville Boden 1929-1996
T01209 Blow in her Ear 1969
Aluminium and synthetic enamel, 71¾ x 29 x 39 (182.3 x 73.7 x 99).
Purchased from the artist (Gytha Trust) 1970.
Exh: Ludlow Castle, Shropshire, June-July 1969 (7); London Group, Royal Academy Diploma Galleries, April 1970 (7).
T01209 comprises two wide tubes of metal, one set inside the other, and painted in colours which shade from a light yellow through pink to purple.
The artist was inspired to make T01209 by having seen in the British Museum an Assyrian relief on which there is a symbolic circle with wings on each side above the head of a god. As a result of seeing the relief the artist made a group of works which are characterised by a wing shape curving into itself. The work also relates to the series of ‘Band’ sculptures which Boden has been producing since 1965. In these sculptures Boden was interested that by bending a sheet of metal—essentially a 2D medium—he could achieve a 3D statement. The Band series generally consists of tall curved forms, sometimes completely cylindrical, and was made in steel because it was a cheap material. Subsequently he was able to afford aluminium and later plastic.
T01209 is cut out from sheets of aluminium (if the work was dismantled the original sheets could be reassembled). Boden is concerned that the edges of the sculpture should appear sensuous. Two works immediately prior to T01209 have feather-like edges. The edges of T01209 are straight: however they are also pliant and soft, rather than rigid. The artist thinks that the particular material in which the work is made is not an important aspect; he believes the relevance of the work lies in the colour and the way that this changes on the curved surface.
There are a large number of preliminary drawings and small constructions. T01209 was the last sculpture that Boden titled: subsequent works have been called ‘Untitled’ plus the date. After T01209 the artist made cuboid unit sculptures; his most recent sculptures however are again based on cylindrical forms. (This account is based on a conversation with the artist in May 1971).
Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1970–1972, London 1972.