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‘Apocalyptic Figure’ was commissioned by the Arts Council of Great Britain for the Festival of Britain in 1951 and was by far the largest work Adams had made to date. ‘Apocalyptic Figure’ is a constructed sculpture, assembled from lengths of ash wood which have been whittled to tapering sharp points and joined together to form a skeletal framework. It stands on three legs, the vertical movement counteracted by horizontal struts. Adams is reported to have said that ‘Apocalyptic Figure’ represented “a new vision and a new horizon”. It was shown in the RBA Galleries in London alongside work by his contemporaries, including Reg Butler, Lynn Chadwick, Frank Dobson, Jacob Epstein, Barbara Hepworth, Bernard Meadows, Karin Jonzen, F.E. McWilliam, Henry Moore, Uli Nimptsch and Eduardo Paolozzi.

‘Apocalyptic Figure’, both through its title and form, reflects a period of existentialist anxiety and a foreboding feeling that preoccupied post-war society following the uncertainty and brutality of war. That said, Adams’ “new vision, new horizon” could also be understood to reference an optimistic hope and need for a new humanity.

Details

  • Title: Apocalyptic Figure
  • Creator: Robert Adams
  • Date Created: 1951
  • Physical Dimensions: 310 x 91.4 x 97.8cm
  • Rights: The artist's estate
  • Medium: Wood

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