Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Henry Moore - Reclining Figure, OCBC Bank Singapore

We are only a tiny island with a population of about 4 million people and yet we have a huge Henry Moore sculpture in our Central Business district. Several years ago when OCBC Bank commissioned this sculpture, they paid a large sum of money for it and set it in front of the OCBC building. The sculpture called 'Large Reclining Figure' disappeared for a while and reappeared in the same place except that this time it looked spruced up and receiving the kind of attention that should be accorded to such a renowned piece of artwork because its immediate surroundings have been designed by I.M Pei. This is the second time that I have taken a close look at this sculpture. The first time, many years ago did not leave any lasting impression on me. All sculptures to me are mostly incomprehensible because I do not know what to make of them and my interest was more towards paintings. Having looked at the 'Large Reclining Figure' and read its description on the plaque next to it, I was puzzled as to why it was named such because the posture of the figure as I had seen and photographed was leaning forward and the sculpture did not appear to me as reclining. The figure suggested that it was uncomfortable rather than relaxed - the way it should be if it were truly reclining.

I then did a google-search for images of sculptures by Henry Moore and saw that there were a few similar sculptures elsewhere in the world. Looking at these photos I realised that in order to see the sculpture in the way the sculptor meant it to be, one has to move around the sculpture to look for the 'Reclining Figure'. In all the photos I have taken, I could see that I have missed that point of view where the sculpture becomes meaningful. All along I have been looking at sculptures the way I would look at a painting and I now understand that this is a different medium that requires me to employ a totally different way to appreciate what it is about.

1 comment:

rob said...

A fantastic jewel in an otherwise commercially dominated place. I just love the questions it asks.

Robert Vincent