Nicholas Pope

Big Hoos


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Not on display
Nicholas Pope born 1949
Object: 2330 x 1740 x 890 mm
Purchased 1982

Catalogue entry

T03536 Big Hoos 1982

Silver birch 91 5/8 × 68 × 35 (2330 × 1740 × 890)
Not inscribed
Purchased from Waddington Galleries (Grant-in-Aid) 1982
Exh: Sculpture, Waddington Galleries, September–October 1982 (37, repr.)
Lit: Rasaad Jamie, ‘Mixed Shows at Waddington's, Nicola Jacobs and Blond’, Artscribe, 37, October 1982, pp.57–9; recorded interview with artist 2 July 1983, Tate Gallery Archives

‘Big Hoos’ was the last sculpture completed by Nicholas Pope in his studio in Hampshire before he moved in April 1982 to Herefordshire. It was first displayed with pieces standing directly on the floor. The base was made for it by the artist in June the following year so that it could be displayed more safely, in part in response to discussion with the Tate Gallery at the time it was acquired.

During the period 1982–3, Nicholas Pope changed decisively the kind of sculpture that he made, and ‘Big Hoos’ is transitional between styles. It resembles his earlier works in the precarious balance of the wooden tree trunks standing on end, particularly so before the base was added, and also in the character of the work as an accumulation of similar objects. Unlike earlier work, however, are the human associations of the shapes and the skill of its carving in the traditional sense of shape and surface texture.

The title, onomatopoeic and humorous, is similarly unlike both the titles of earlier works which referred to the process by which they were made, and to more recent titles with references to landscape. ‘Big Hoos’ has no specific meaning, except that it is a larger version of ‘Hoos’, a five piece sculpture of Wellingtonia wood, which itself took its name from ‘Yoo Hoo’, a punning title for a sculpture made of yew.

‘Hoos’ was made in the autumn of 1981. The pieces are about four feet tall, and Pope made use of the shape of the wood so that each piece divides, including one horizontal protuberance. ‘Big Hoos’ was similarly dependant on the original shape of the silver birch, and there were no preparatory studies apart from some outline drawings in a sketchbook. It is not itself a study for anything else, unlike some of his wooden sculptures made shortly afterwards, which were intended as maquettes for very large sculptures in stone.

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

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