Josephson installation on the wall of Lismore CastleThis summer-long show focuses on the work of an “elder statesman” of the international art world, whose work is not particularly well known in Ireland.

Swiss-born Josephsohn, now ninety-two, makes sculptures of the human form with visual references that range from Henry Moore to Giacometti, while retaining a unique, primitive style of their own. Outdoors, in an Irish setting, these flat-faced figures also recall Celtic stone carvings, while the inherent, earthy sensuousness of his relief works brings to mind our Sile na Gig tradition.

Josephsohn works in plaster, adding minimal facial features, keeping limbs tight to torsos and patting hair close to the head. These works are then cast in brass, with a resulting patination that gives the impression of a stone surface with subtle glints of golden metal beneath.

It’s an impressive exhibition that features works from 1951 to 2011. In the gallery, five enormous heads echo the carvings on Easter Island, while outside three nudes recline like women dug from the earth and left to weather in the sun.

Cristín Leach Hughes

Hans Josephsohn is at Lismore Castle Arts from 12 May to 30 September 2012.

LISTEN to my report on the Josephsohn exhibiton at Lismore Castle Arts on RTE Arena here. It’s the last item on the show broadcast on 15 May 2012.

NOTE: Hans Josephsohn died on 21 August 2012, making this his last solo show.

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