5th October - 27th October 2012

Opening: 4th October 2012

John Panting:






John Panting: Sculpture


This exhibition celebrates the book launch of the first monograph on the sculpture of John Panting, 1940–1974, a New Zealander with a unique and natural talent for sculpture who lived and worked in the UK for his entire short career. In the late sixties and early seventies Panting was one of the most energetic and challenging figures on the London art scene. His early works were quickly acquired by private and public collections, including the Arts Council, whilst he was still a student at the Royal College of Art, and where he continued as a tutor. He was amongst the younger artists shown in the important survey exhibition at the Royal Academy, British Sculptors ’72. He was soon to be made a dynamic and influential Head of Sculpture at Central School of Art, only to die in in a motorcycle accident in 1974.

Panting, modestly charismatic and articulate as a teacher, was highly regarded and admired by both his contemporaries and his students, many of whom achieved subsequent success in sculpture themselves. However, after a Serpentine Gallery retrospective in 1975 and an ensuing tour to New Zealand, his work was somewhat neglected until the revival of interest signaled by the exhibition John Panting Rediscovered at Poussin Gallery in 2007 and purchases of his work by Tate Britain and the Henry Moore Institute.

During his short professional career Panting gained a reputation as a tireless and obsessive worker. He produced a very large number of sculptures in a variety of idioms, moving through a sequence of contemporary issues current in the sculpture of the sixties before finding his own striking style in the early seventies.

The monograph reproduces over 350 photographs, many taken by Panting himself, exhibiting the full range of the artist’s work and the complete arc of his brief but meteoric career. The large photo archive (the original of which is now with Tate Britain) is accompanied by a definitive text by specialist abstract art essayist Sam Cornish, who traces the story of Panting’s development in context. This stage-by-stage analysis and appreciation demonstrates Panting’s highly original and lucid contribution to sculpture and the compelling fusion of sensibility and intellect which ensures his importance to the narrative of modern art.