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Monday 15 September 2014

JFK and Oswald share gallery space

Published 16/06/2014 | 13:57

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Visitors to the Hayward Gallery's new exhibition, Human Factor: The Figure in Contemporary Sculpture look at a piece titled Now by Maurzio Cattelan, which opens to the public tomorrow
Visitors to the Hayward Gallery's new exhibition, Human Factor: The Figure in Contemporary Sculpture look at a piece titled Koch und 6. Foto by Katharina Fritsch, which opens to the public tomorrow

Figures of Jesus, John F Kennedy and Hitler share gallery space in a new exhibition.

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The sculptures are on display at London's Hayward Gallery, in a show on the human figure in contemporary sculpture.

A small, kneeling Adolf Hitler is the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan.

He has said of his 2001 artwork, entitled Him: "You don't know if he's praying to have six more million people to kill or for forgiveness."

Jesus is presented in the 1999 white marbelised resin sculpture by British artist Mark Wallinger.

Thorns on Jesus's head have been replaced by gold-plated barbed wire in "an allegory for persecution of all kinds" in Ecce Homo, the first in the series of artworks to temporarily adorn Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth.

Visitors to the show will also see a life-sized effigy of former US President John F Kennedy in a coffin.

The 2004 work is also by Cattelan, who previously worked in a morgue and also made the Hitler sculpture.

He described his coffin sculpture as an attempt at closure, making Kennedy, who continues to fascinate decades after his assassination, "die once and for all".

Kennedy's alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, who was killed before his trial could take place, features as a fairground attraction with bullet holes in another work by Cady Noland.

The Hayward show features sculptures by 25 artists, who explore how "society constructs identities, social positions and values" through the human body.

They include an artist's rendition of himself and his then wife, naked but holding a video camera and a mobile phone, as a 21st Century Adam and Eve.

Due to the composition of the works - they were made from animal intestines and grasses - the bodies are gradually decaying over time.

Other works include Jeff Koons' Bear And Policeman (1988), and Yinka Shonibare's Girl Ballerina (2007), which references Degas' Little Dancer Aged 14 but without her head.

Clay figures, shop mannequins with crystalline shapes like "ingrowths" in their bodies and a miniature version of former US Vice President Dick Cheney holding a butterfly net with a lemon inside are also on display.

:: The Human Factor: The Figure In Contemporary Sculpture opens tomorrow and runs to September 7 at the Southbank Centre, London.

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