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Swarm 1, Swarm 2, Swarm 3

Swarm 1, Swarm 2, Swarm 3

Bronzes, 1996


Courtesy the Artist and Waddington Custot Galleries, London

The book as a central motif has featured in a number of Woodrow's sculptures, sometimes on a monumental scale, such as Regardless of History - the second of the Fourth Plinth projects - and Sitting on History at the British Library.

The meaning of Woodrow's book sculptures often appears elusive, although the decisive choice of imagery and motifs, rich in associations, suggest a hidden interpretation waiting to be unlocked. The combination of elements, in which the book takes on a symbolic role, encourage the viewer to create their own surreal and poetic reading of the works. Open Book is suggestive of a grand allegory while the Swarm series is more playful in form.

Bill Woodrow

Bill Woodrow is an English sculptor. In 1980 he first devised his characteristic method of making sculpture, forming a new object or objects from the skin of a found domestic appliance. Woodrow worked in such a way as to leave evident the original identities of the constituent items as well as the mode of transformation. His work is distinguished by its reliance on discarded consumer durables redolent of contemporary urban experience and by a witty and skilful manipulation of this raw material into a kind of three-dimensional drawing. These juxtapositions of images and objects from ordinary life do not constitute didactic statements, but have an elliptical, poetic content.

His work was the subject of a solo show at the Royal Academy in 2013. He was one of three artists selected to make a sculpture for the Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square in 2000.