exhibition archive

Shelagh Cluett: Sculpture 1977 - 1980

Curated by Donald Smith

10.11.10 – 11.12.10

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Private view:
Tuesday 9th November 6 – 8.30pm


“Women will take over making art because they have no respect for all these dead traditions which men are lumbered with…women are born with a sense of touch men can only artifice”
George Fullard, Head of Sculpture at Chelsea School of Art 1970

Shelagh Cluett (1947-2007) was recognized as an established female artist within the British art scene. Working amid a decade of social trials and change, Cluett’s significance as a young contemporary female sculptor, inspires us to contemplate the journey endured by her at that crucial era for sexual equality.

CHELSEA space, via the Shelagh Cluett Trust’s archive, are proud to present a series of sculptures and photographs made between the years of 1977 and 1980; a period of time that was the crux of the first national appreciation for Cluett’s work.

Elegant drawings in space, ephemeral and fine, with an air of critical positioning and relation to the spaces surrounding; Cluett’s sculptures find movement and fluidity through the delicate choreography suggested by these monochrome curvilinear lines. Crafted wire, thin steel, aluminium, brass and copper rods rise from a single point on the floor, unfurling, crossing and meeting. These lines rise just above the average person’s height, almost weightlessly, to then daintily touch the adjacent wall.

Displayed are six of Shelagh Cluett’s minimal yet poignant sculptures, from several groups of work – the Shive, Schist, Caesura, and Nullah series made between 1978 and 1980 and two pieces from a slightly earlier group made circa 1977. The sculptures are introduced by a set of original black and white photographs (the artists’ archive/calling card of the day) depicting these and other sculptures of hers, including the Flux series. Their delicate traces echo the linear spatial interventions of the sculptures presented.

This exhibition runs concurrently with the exhibition ‘Le Cabinet de Curiosités de Mlle. Clouette’, Shelagh Cluett’s collection and work, curated by Virginia Whiles in the Old College Library, Chelsea College of Art and Design, 16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU.

For further information on Shelagh Cluett visit www.shelaghcluett.com


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West London Super Girls, Shelagh Cluett, Felicity Oliver, Rosetta Brooks. c. 1973
photo: Stephen Willats


Flux 1 c. 1979