Lynn Chadwick was a self-taught sculptor. The influence of his architecture studies before World War Two is clear in his early works, reflecting an interest in how shapes balance and integrate space. His later sculptures were denser and he worked increasingly in metal.
Chadwick focused on studies of animals and humans, shaped by his quest for the structure of form. In his words, a sculpture had to be built around a skeleton, the aim being to find out ‘what was going on inside the thing before I could do the outside… and even then the outside mustn’t be just a skin; it must be the expression of volume and mass’.
In the 1970s, Chadwick began to sculpt pairs of figures, generally one male and one female. He developed a number of formal conventions to differentiate the two: male figures had rectangular blocks for faces, contrasting with polygons extending from pyramids for the heads of the female figures. The densest part of the composition, the torso, was handled more freely. While the figures deliberately eschew naturalism, they are by no means plain geometric constructions consisting of straight lines and faceted volumes: they have their own inner life. In this work, the thin, twig-like legs create a slightly off-kilter presence. Chadwick’s characters are alien presences in everyday life, yet deeply human.
Dennis Farr, Lynn Chadwick, Sculptor: With a Complete Illustrated Catalogue 1947-1996, Stroud, Lypiatt Studio, 1997: n. 595.
Erika Billeter, in collaboration with Chantal Michetti-Prod’Hom and Verena Villiger, Sculptures du Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts Lausanne, Œuvres choisies, Lausanne, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, 1990: 108-109.