In this exhibition, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen shows ten contemporary sculptures from its own collection.
The earliest sculpture of a human figure is around 35,000 years old. As the sculptures shown here make clear, we still like to create images in our own likeness today. Following several decades in which abstraction and minimalism had the upper hand, since the 1980s artists have once again embraced the human figure.
The works shown in the exhibition are recent sculptures from the collection in which the human figure serves as a springboard for questioning the world we live in. For these artists, the body as flesh and blood is less important than the body as a mirror of our time, social codes and conventions. How is identity defined? What roles do religion, social class and gender play in society? And what values do we project onto our bodies and those of others? The human figure forms a common ground or perhaps a battlefield for questions about the human condition.
Unconventional materials such as polystyrene, concrete, textiles and beeswax become vehicles for cultural meanings that rhyme with everyday life. Although extremely diverse, all these human figures address us at a physical level: they make us aware of our own bodies, of our place and time, and how, as visitors, we move through the space.