Figuration/Abstraction: Strategies for Public Sculpture in Europe 1945-1968

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The notion that the practice of abstraction was confined to Western Europe while a stereotyped form of figuration defined the art of the Eastern bloc continues to dominate art historical accounts of public sculpture of the post-war period. This book offers a number of alternative readings, and demonstrates strategic uses of figuration and abstraction across East and West. Encompassing sites of memory (including war memorials and Holocaust memorials), state, civic and corporate sculpture, as well as temporary and unexecuted projects, the book shows that persuasive advocates of figuration were to be found in the West, while in the East imaginative experiments in abstraction were proposed in the name of Social Realism. Presenting fresh insights into sculptural practice in the period between 1945 and 1968, this book brings together a wide range of authors, some of whom have never before been published in English. Their essays are complemented by extracts from documentary texts, which give a flavour of contemporary debates, and a biographical section includes entries on many sculptors who will be unfamiliar to an English-speaking audience.