Critics’ Picks

View of “Charlotte Moth,” 2015–16.

View of “Charlotte Moth,” 2015–16.


Charlotte Moth

Tate Britain
May 4, 2015–May 4, 2016

Invited to work with the Tate Archive, Charlotte Moth chose to interrogate the museum’s holdings of documentation and ephemera related to the work of sculptor Barbara Hepworth. Moth’s current exhibition, “Choreography of the Image,” highlights the imaginative control Hepworth exerted on photographic reproductions of her art from the 1930s until the ’70s (an aspect of the sculptor’s practice that’s received little scholarly attention). Hepworth chose certain kinds of plants, plinths on wheels, curtains, screens, and lights for the most indelible kinds of presentation—she was not only invested in the way her work would be displayed but also how it would be remembered.

For the vitrines in the Archive Room, Moth has created ten Inserts, 2015—a series of “sculptural interventions,” according to the artist, on which she has arranged about one hundred items, including exhibition-installation pictures, correspondences, and one of Hepworth’s collages (Collage featuring Sculpture with Colour [Deep Blue and Red] ca.1943). Images from the 1937 avant-garde journal Circle: International Survey of Constructive Art feature photographs of artworks by her contemporaries, such as Naum Gabo, László Moholy-Nagy, and Henry Moore. References to Hepworth’s son Simon Nicholson’s kinetic sculptures also show up, reflecting shared interests in landscape, art education, and child psychology.

Moth’s Filmic Sketches, 2015, merges exquisitely evocative footage of locations that were important to Hepworth—her studio and garden in St. Ives—with images of the Palais-de-Danse, sundry rock formations, and ancient magical sites in Cornwall. Moth worked on the film’s sound track, made up of environmental recordings from the sites she visited woven into computer-generated ones, in collaboration with the composer Carlo Peters. Moth has organically and elegantly echoed Hepworth’s language in the present time.