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'Image II' is rooted in Barbara Hepworth's lifelong engagement with carving. In the 1930s she had pierced abstract forms, introducing light and transforming their sense of mass. Even the substantial 'Image II' (weighing more than 400 kg) appears effortlessly lightened as a result of its undercutting, its concavities and the penetrating hole. Hepworth explained: 'I believe that the dynamic quality of the surfaces of a sculpture can be increased by devices which give one the impression that a form has been created by forces operating within its own mass as well as from outside... the piercing of mass is a response to my desire to liberate mass without departing from it.

August 2004