I have recently watched this short film on Barbara Hepworth that can be found in the BBC Archive. It was first broadcast in 1961 and is called The landscape of Cornwall transposed in sculpture. A physical movement through the landscape lies at the foundation of Hepworth’s work. She says, ‘feeling, seeing, touching through the mind, the eye and the hand – the touch and texture of things: sculpture, rock, myself and the landscape’; sensing the environment she inhabited with her body was fundamental to her work. Although her sculpture represented neither body nor landscape her abstract forms conjure up images of nature – the moving sea and wind and the solidity of the land – and its upright form alludes to the body.
Like the stone that Hepworth often used, cloth is a tactile medium. It is a material that is able to record traces and reveal interactions and through the patina of wear it narrates time. The surface of the cloths below speak of their surroundings; by looking at them we can imagine their feel and touch.