Sculpting Lives: Elisabeth Frink

Mar 31, 06:00 AM

In this episode, we explore hidden narratives in Frink’s career, and consider how artists can be sidelined by the ‘art world’ yet remain popular with the public.

Dame Elisabeth Frink, R.A. (1930-1993)

“She respected herself. She took herself seriously and she took the work seriously, due to the nature of the work. She knew what it was she wanted to explore.” Annette Ratuszniak, Curator, Frink Estate.
 
In 1973 Elisabeth Frink became the first female sculptor to be elected as a Royal Academician.

Frink was born into an army family, and her childhood was overshadowed by the Second World War. This experience, and other upheavals of the 20th century, led her to ask fundamental questions about the nature of humanity in her work. In an artworld increasingly dominated by abstraction, Frink remained resolute in her commitment to working both figuratively and in bronze. When Frink died in 1993 she had created over 400 sculptures, many of which are well-known public commissions. 
 
In Episode 2, we explore hidden narratives in Frink’s career, and consider how artists can be sidelined by the ‘art world’ yet remain popular with the public. We also consider the impact an artist’s family has on their posthumous reputation and how this is managed. 
 
 “A lot of her work resonates in a really contemporary way.” Cathie Pilkington, RA, First Female Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy.

With contributions from:

·      Simon Martin, Director, Pallant House Gallery
·      Annette Ratuszniak, Curator, The Elisabeth Frink Estate
·      Sam Johnston, Director, Dorset History Centre
·      Cathie Pilkington, R.A.
·      Clare Lilley, Director of Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The sound recordings of Elisabeth Frink (00.00.27-00.00.42) are from Artists' Lives run by National Life Stories in partnership with the British Library.  Audio (c) British Library Board 

With thanks also to Dorset History Centre  https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/libraries-history-culture/dorset-history-centre/dorset-history-centre.aspx

Image: Elisabeth Frink with Soldiers Head, courtesy of the Frink Estate

For works discussed in this episode and more photographs of Frink, see the @sculptinglives Instagram feed.