Man with Potential Selves

2000
Bronze, Painted bronze
Edition of 4

In this sculpture there are three views of a man. His identity should not concern us, but the arrangement of his body in different attitudes suggests that his identity does concern him; he is a self-conscious being. We all wonder about shaping our lives, how different paths will have cause and effect on our lives. The resultant outcomes, however, can never be predetermined or constructed. In Henry's sculpture one version of this self is solid, his feet on the ground, his gaze capturing our eye, walking down a prescribed path of life. Another interpretation of this man is that of the dreamer, a free spirit with a knowing smile. Henry's sculpture is emblematic of how as a viewer we project our own motives and personal issues, which effectively has an effect on the interpretation of the work. This choice of interpretation has the potential to preclude other choices, which returns us to Sean Henry's reason for making this group. Through this sculpture Henry explores a frozen moment, and gives us time to walk amongst several different versions of a self. It is also interesting to note how different clothing, one's symbolic order, reveals differing states of being: an open-necked shirt tells of freedom and confidence, a donkey jacket of working purposefulness, a shirt with short sleeves, determination.

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About The Artist

Sean Henry's sculptures deal with the tension between the making and staging of figures that seem to belong to the real world and the degree to which they echo our experiences and sympathies. Henry plays with scale and perception, almost always avoiding life–sized representation. He explores the narrative capabilities of sculpture through a variety of means: by using more than one figure, by the economical use of contemporary iconography and by a masterful ability to suggest psychological presence. His figurative sculptures are self–contained, often pensive, and preoccupied by their inner imaginings and on occasion verge on melancholic representations of our human existence.

Henry's public works include Walking Man in London's Holland Park (2000), Man With Potential Selves in the centre of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (2003) and a nine-figure permanent installation at the headquarters of Standard Chartered Bank in the city of London (2008). In 2007 Henry completed Couple - the UK's first permanent offshore sculpture, a critically acclaimed 13m high and 20m wide painted bronze and steel sculpture located 300 meters off the coast of Northumberland, at Newbiggin Bay. More recent installations include Standing Man in Stockholm city (2010) and Lying Man at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Michigan, USA (2011).

Sean Henry

Born: 1965

Other Artworks by Sean Henry at CASS

2011

Folly (The Other Self)

Traditionally a folly is a decorative building or structure with no discernible use or explicit raison d'être. Its place…

2004

Catafalque (Lying Man)

Henry’s larger than life sculptures are captured in static moments, trapped in their stance and subject to the artist’s …

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