Lynn Chadwick

Conjunction

1953

Medium
Iron and plaster
Dimensions
Object: 420 x 320 x 220 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Transferred from the Victoria & Albert Museum 1983
Reference
T03712

Display caption

Chadwick was one of the leading sculptors of the twentieth century. He trained at the Merchant Taylors’ School and worked as an architectural draughtsman before becoming an artist. In 1956 he gained international recognition when he won the International Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale. He was awarded the CBE in 1964.

Conjunction is one of Chadwick’s first sculptures of a human couple. It has powdered iron on its surface which has since rusted. This gives the sculpture its distinctive colour. 

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

T03712 CONJUNCTION 1953

Wrought iron and composition 16 1/2 × 11 3/4 × 8 (420 × 300 × 200)
Not inscribed
Transferred from the Victoria and Albert Museum 1983
Prov: Purchased from the artist by the Department of Circulation, Victoria and Albert Museum 1954 (Circ. 37–1954)
Exh: London Group, New Burlington Galleries, November 1953 (219); travelling exhibitions of the Department of Circulation, Victoria and Albert Museum; London Group, 1914–64 Jubilee Exhibition, Tate Gallery, July–August 1964, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, August–September 1964, Museum and Art Gallery, Doncaster, October 1964 (131, repr.)
Lit: A. Bowness, Lynn Chadwick, 1962, n.p. Also repr: J.P. Hodin, Lynn Chadwick, 1961, pl.12

Chadwick's first exhibited sculptures were mobiles, such as the Tate Gallery's ‘Dragonfly’ (1951, N06035). During 1953 he made static sculptures in a new technique, in which he filled a cage of welded together iron rods with a material called ‘stolit’, which was a mixture of plaster and powdered iron. Excess material which protruded beyond the shape of the rods was filed away. The powdered iron on the surface has since rusted, as intended, and gives the sculpture its colour. Alan Bowness wrote (op.cit.) that ‘Conjunction’ was one of the first sculptures made in this new technique. The mobiles were of animal subjects, and ‘Conjunction’ is also one of his first sculptures of a human couple.

Chadwick subsequently made a series of ‘Conjunctions’, the next in 1954 (private collection, Chicago, reproduced in Herbert Read, Lynn Chadwick, 1958, no.9, 17 1/2 ins. high). pages 12/13

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986

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