Gill, Epstein, Gaudier at the RA


Wild Thing opens in the Sackler Galleries of the RA next week. First and foremost it’s a show about experimentation and sexual liberation represetnted in modern sculpture during the post-war period. But it’s also a revealing look into the lives and minds of three radicals who were much more than sculptors.

For design, the name of Gill conjures up type design, lettercutting, the Golden Cockerel Press, and the meta font Gills Sans. For those that have read their Fiona McCarthy, the scandal of Gill’s sexual practices is never far away too. As show curator Richard Cork puts it, ‘Gill was a very complicated person’. Some find him – the man – too difficult to entertain, even 60 years after his death.

Epstein was evidently obsessed by sex, and though we don’t know about Gaudier’s life as he died so young, he was dubbed the ‘Wild Thing’ by Ezra Pound, the radical poet radically carved here by Epstein.

This is a show worth much closer inspection, an all to clear reminder of just how little our generation has done to advance the Modern project.

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