Posted 30th October 2009
Watts Contemporary Gallery
This week I had a visit to a sculptor conservator’s studio to see what had been done on two sculptures by Watts. The first is a seated female figure, yet to be full identified. It was rather a shock to see her in two pieces her legs and pelvis comfortably seated on a work surface whilst the head and torso was detached. It had corrupted very badly in the last two decades and disintegration had rendered it in two. Historic photographs show her original position before she had crumbled and the conservator will put it back together for display in the gallery. A lot has been learnt on how Watts actually constructed the sculpture and the materials that he used.
The second sculpture is a prototype for Hugh Lupus and Physical Energy. One can see very well what a fragile condition that it is in being suspended by frames and braces in order for the conservator to be able to conserve it. An internal structure is being made to support it and the work then conserved around it. It is a key work in the genesis of the great Physical Energy that stands in Kensington Gardens, Cape Town and Harare. The whole Hope project is about restoring the collection as well as the gallery and it will be an exciting moment to see these and other works fully conserved.