Regardless of History

920 x 500 x 220 cm
Edition of 1

Bill Woodrow's sculpture Regardless of History was originally installed on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2000. It is one in a series of sculptures in which Woodrow used the book as a primary motif. When invited to make a proposal for The Fourth Plinth Woodrow reconsidered a previous maquette for a sculpture he had wanted to realise on a monumental scale—a book and tree with a severed head on the ground. The head in Regardless of History is derived from a fallen statue and placed on the plinth in order to mimic traditional methods of display. The head is topped by a book and a tree, both symbolic of the accumulation of growth and knowledge. This composition is bound together by the tree’s roots, here providing a narrative on the cyclical quality of time. Full of symbolism, the supremacy of nature over civilisation is shown in Regardless of History as it may be observed in the jungles of South America or Thailand, where deserted temples have been reclaimed by nature. Woodrow here emphasises humanity’s fragility in the face of nature, suggesting that we should remain respectful of nature’s power and our place in a natural order and most significantly learn from our history, a common theme in Woodrow’s practice.


About The Artist

Bill Woodrow’s early work was made from materials found in dumps, used car lots and scrap yards, partially embedded in plaster and appearing as if they had been excavated. He went on to use large consumer goods, such as refrigerators and cars, cutting the sheet metal and allowing the original structure to remain identifiable, with the cut out attached to the original form. His later compositional works sought to arrange unrelated objects together, altering them in the process and creating new suggestions of meaning. Woodrow achieves this by disassembling familiar, everyday objects in order to consequently reassemble them into new compositional contexts often to surrealistic and uncanny effect.

‘Regardless of History’ is currently on display

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Visiting Information

Bill Woodrow

Born: 1948

Other Artworks by Bill Woodrow at CASS


Sitting on History

Sitting on History was proposed in response to a commission first discussed in 1990 and to Woodrow’s Tate Gallery exhibi…

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