The First World War changed forever the way we think about the human body. The physical injuries inflicted by mechanised warfare – machine guns, bombshells, chemical weaponry – were without precedent in human history, and demanded new ways of thinking about prosthetics, disability and beauty. At the same time, new developments in science and art changed the way that we understand and represent the human body. Rebecca Warren created a major new sculpture as part of an ambitious exhibition reflecting on the enduring implications of these changes.
The Body Extended: Sculpture and Prosthetics told the story of how we have extended and supplemented the body over the past century. We saw how the medical sciences and the arts looked to each other for new ideas of what it means to be human. The exhibition featured objects and artworks from museums and medical collections from Europe and the United States. Warren’s work was sited directly outside the Henry Moore Institute at the entrance to the exhibition, on the busiest thoroughfare in Leeds.
Supplemented by debates, film screenings and a publication, this exhibition offered a powerful context for the way we think about our bodies in today’s society and illuminated the impact of the First World War on our contemporary values. It took place at a centre for the study of sculpture that is a part of the Henry Moore Foundation.
Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and the Henry Moore Institute