press release

The Human Factor: The Figure in Contemporary Sculpture brings together major works by 25 leading international artists who have fashioned new ways of using the human form. Spanning the past 25 years, The Human Factor focuses on artists who use the figure as a means for exploring far-ranging concerns. Compelling and thought-provoking, their work brings into play ideas about history, voyeurism, sexuality and violence, while reflecting on how we represent the ‘human’ today. At the same time, the artists in The Human Factor pointedly revisit and update classical traditions of sculpture, while drawing on representations of the human body in contemporary popular culture. Inventively remixing past and present, they transform that most familiar form – the human body – in ways that surprise, unsettle and engage us. Highlighting remarkably varied approaches, The Human Factorfeatures super-realistic portraits as well as sculptures that change over time and others that evince an uncannily indeterminate presence, hovering ghostlike between object and image. Yet whether overtly theatrical or quietly intimate, all of the works in this exhibition involve us in encounters that aim to change the way we think about and perceive art’s oldest subject: the human form. Contributing artists: Pawel Althamer, Frank Benson, Huma Bhabha, Maurizio Cattelan, Urs Fischer, Katharina Fritsch, Ryan Gander, Isa Genzken, Rachel Harrison, Georg Herold, Thomas Hirschhorn, Martin Honert, Pierre Huyghe, Jeff Koons, Paul McCarthy, John Miller, Cady Noland, Ugo Rondinone, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Thomas Schütte, Paloma Varga Weisz, Mark Wallinger, Rebecca Warren, Andro Wekua and Cathy Wilkes. Southbank Centre acknowledges the generous support of Edlis-Neeson Foundation, Gladstone Gallery, Dakis Joannou, Matthew Marks Gallery, Maureen Paley, London, Max Hetzler Gallery, Ringier Collection Zürich, Sadie Coles HQ, Stephen Friedman Gallery, the Polish Cultural Institute in London, the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation and the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. 'This is the most compelling selection of contemporary art I have seen for years. A real sizzler of a show. Soon after I walked in, I wrote down two words in my notes: 'visceral' and 'witty'. Then I underlined them. Later, I added 'impeccably presented'.' Waldemar Januszczak (The Sunday Times)