Severed Sculptures: Roderick Tye’s ‘The Human Presence’ at UCL Art Museum, London

Roderick Tye, Head, c.1990’s wax © The Artist’s Estate

Roderick Tye, Head, c.1990’s wax © The Artist’s Estate

Roderick Tye: The Human Presence
Monday 28 September – Friday 18 December 2015
UCL Art Museum, South Cloisters, Wilkins Building, Gower Street, London
Mon-Fri, 1pm-5pm. Free Admission

“Blood red wax catching the light, sinewy torsos dripping with life, earth toned bronzes in states of agony and ecstasy.”

That’s certainly one way of describing UCL Art Museum‘s latest exhibition. ‘The Human Presence’ is the first major re-examination of the work of Roderick Tye (1959-2009), a sculptor passionate about the visceral nature of human existence. Shown alongside his expressive head studies in charcoal, Tye’s wax and bronze head sculptures are severed from their bodies and mounted on metal spikes.

Interspersed with medical samples from UCL’s pathology collections and drawings from its art holdings, the displays are welcome to artists and sketchers.

Roderick Tye, Head, c 1990’s bronze © The Artist’s Estate

Roderick Tye, Head, c 1990’s bronze © The Artist’s Estate

The exhibition is curated by the Slade School of Fine Art in collaboration with UCL Art Museum, UCL Pathology Collections, and the Anatomy Laboratory (UCL Department of Cell and Developmental Biology). Displays feature large-scale anatomical drawings by Charles Bell, UCL’s first Professor of Anatomy in the 1830s and samples from UCL’s teaching collections, including wax models and human tissue remains.

A public programme of events, talks and workshops will complement the exhibition and will invite attendees to explore, engage with and discuss the work and its themes.

For more information visit www.ucl.ac.uk/museums/uclart/whats-on

Dancing Skeletons: Characters of Cham Dance

Dancing Skeleton Facec.1919 Dancing Skeleton costume on display at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

This bank holiday weekend brought a meandering stroll through the inspiring National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. Located on Chamber Street, between South Bridge and the Grassmarket, the National Museum of Scotland is still one of my favourite places to visit after this 4th or 5th trip. There were some fascinating anatomy-related finds that I came across for the first time on Monday; one of which was the costume of the Dancing Skeleton. (Level 3, World Cultures, Performance And Lives)

Tibetan Cham Dance is a lively costumed dance associated with some sects of Buddhism, often performed at Buddhist festivals. With monks providing the accompanying music with traditional Tibetan instruments, the dances are considered a form of meditation and an offering to the gods.

Dancing Skeleton Fullc.1919 Dancing Skeleton costume on display at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

One character from the Cham Dance is the Citipati, or ‘Dancing Skeleton’. Cheerfully dressed, their costumes are made from cotton and are decorated to show the bones of the skeleton in bright and illustrative way.  Their somewhat intimidating eye-less skull mask is fashioned from papier-mâché and sheet tin, showcasing a crested headdress of smaller skulls. Despite their daunting presence, their intention is not to frighten but to remind and inspire the audience of the transience of human life and the fleeting presence of the organic body.