Elisabeth Frink

Prisoner

1988 (conceived 1982)
Bronze
h39cm x w31cm
Signed on verso
Edition 2 of 6

Description

Prisoner or Prisoner’s Head belongs to a group of works by Elisabeth Frink that describe the trauma of war, in particular of those taken prisoner by opposing armies. The artist often recalled her experience of war as a child, her father as a soldier at Dunkirk and holidaying in Devon, witnessing combat in a nearby airfield, sheltering in bushes for safety. Her abhorrence of the violence and hatred caused by war manifests in stricken images of men, physically and mentally scarred by conflict, and led to her prize-winning entry for the ‘Unknown Political Prisoner’ competition in 1953. Her work of this period is often associated with a group of sculptors manifesting a ‘Geometry of Fear’ in post-war Britain, including Reg Butler, her teacher Bernard Meadows, Kenneth Armitage, Eduardo Paolozzi and Lynn Chadwick.

Prisoner or Prisoner’s head is pensive and contemplative, the gaze avoids the viewer as if wrapped in the past. The mottled skin is stricken with lines of age, so cruelly expressed they could be interpreted as physical scarring. The sculpture embodies the results of the human capacity for cruelty upon one another. The work forms part of her ‘Tribute Heads’ series that describe the oppressions of fascism through the opposing ‘Goggle Head’ busts, with ‘Prisoner’ viewable as the victim in such a pair.

Literature

Exhibition catalogue, Frink, London, Beaux Arts, 2011, p. 26, exhibition not numbered, another cast illustrated.

Lucie-Smith, Elisabeth Frink, Sculpture Since 1984 And Drawings, London, 1994, pp. 67, 187, no. SC36, another cast illustrated.

Ratuszniak (ed.), Elisabeth Frink, Catalogue Raisonné of Sculpture 1947-93, London, 2013, p. 153, no. FCR 306, another cast illustrated.

Exhibited

London, Beaux Arts, Frink, October – November 2011, exhibition not numbered, another cast exhibited.

Biography | Media | Exhibitions | Artworks

Elisabeth Frink

[ 1930
- 1993 ]
Born in Thurlow, Suffolk, Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993) trained at Guildford School of Art (1947-49), and at Chelsea School of Art (1949-1952) under Bernard Meadows and Willi Soukop. These studies, combined with visits to Paris that acquainted her with Giacometti and the works of Rodin, culminated in Frink’s first major exhibition at the Beaux Art Gallery in 1952.

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