Barbara Vujanovic (ITP 2016) gives lecture for Rodin exhibition at Abbot Hall Art Gallery
Barbara Vujanović (ITP 2016, Croatia) Senior Curator, The Ivan Meštrović Museums – Meštrović Atelier, Zagreb
In August, exhibition Rodin: rethinking the fragment (a British Museum Partnership Spotlight Loan) opened at it’s first of three venues: Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal. The first stage of my adventure with the ITP and exhibition took place on 27 September 2018 when I visited the Gallery and for the first time saw the exhibition I have been working on for over a year, set up and looking magnificent. Rodin: rethinking the fragment explores how antiquity, i.e. the fragmentary sculpture, provoked French sculptor Rodin to modernize the art of sculpture.
I was delighted to see how visitors to the exhibition were provoked by the Thinker himself, and how they offered a variety of answers to the question – “What’s The Thinker thinking?” Many of them touched the issue of Brexit, and as a huge fan of group Queen, I was particularly happy to read the following: “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” I asked myself the same questions while travelling through the outskirts of the Lake District and during my explorations of the enchanting Kendal and its curiosities, such as the Kendal Castle, a medieval fortification to the east of the town.
At Abbot Hall Art Gallery I delivered a lecture on the exhibition and discussed the meanings and history of The Thinker. I also enjoyed a most interesting lecture by Pippa Stephenson, Curator of European Art, Glasgow Museums who I had met previously in the UK during the preparation stage of the exhibition. Pippa talked about Sir William Burrell’s 1944 donation of his remarkable 9000 objects to the city of Glasgow. Within this collection can be found one of the largest groups of works by Auguste Rodin outside France, including The Thinker which features in our exhibition.
I was delighted to have time to explore the permanent collection at Abbot Hall Art Gallery and the current exhibition of Elisabeth Frink, who was immensely influenced by Rodin. I will remember the warm hospitality of all the colleagues at the Gallery, led by Helen Watson, Director of Programming and Gordon Watson, CEO.
I cannot wait to follow The Thinker on the rest of his trips throughout England this and next year.