The human condition, as portrayed by the artists in a major new sculpture exhibition opening at the
Many of the figures have been eviscerated, some are slumped unconscious or even headless on the floor, and one figure is a huge candle who will burn away to a puddle of wax during the exhibition.
Elsewhere, John F Kennedy is lying barefoot in his coffin and
It's all been enough to drive
However, visitors will miss the carnage that occurred when one piece was installed - although the suffering took place in the insect world rather than the human one.
The sculpture Liegender Frauenakt by the French artist
Slightly alarmed by media interest in the piece, the Hayward produced a long list of safety precautions to protect the public from an assault by low-flying art. The piece has been installed with advice from the National Bee Unit and the
In addition gallery assistants will be positioned by the door, instructed to contact the trained first aider duty manager if anyone is stung.
Importantly - as was the case when the work was installed at the Pompidou Centre in
"People don't realise how many bees there are in
"There are hives on top of the Festival Hall and on the
"It was really an appalling sight, hundreds of bees lying dead on the ground in the morning. We had to get a new queen, who had slightly tougher offspring."
When the sun is out and the bees are active, Rugoff says, "it's like all the fragments of the mind whizzing around in all directions and then reassembling".
The exhibition also marks a return to
Rugoff said that the human figure was probably the earliest subject in the history of sculpture, but with the rise of abstract, minimalist and conceptual art, figurative sculpture came to be seen as "grandfather art, tainted by its history, not modern".
It was reborn in the 1980s, he said, when the 25 artists represented in this exhibition rediscovered it as "a way to unpick the human condition".
He refused to accept that the artists' work reflects a state of abject despair: "I find it uplifting," he insisted.
The Human Factor: the figure in contemporary sculpture,
Clockwise from left:
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