A famous London avant-garde sculpture created by Karel Vogel, a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia, is set to undergo a major renovation. The concrete figure of a reclining woman, considered to be one of London’s most important pieces of modernist sculptures, was in urgent need of repair.
‘The Leaning Woman’, located in London’s district of Hammersmith, is the work of Karel Vogel, who was forced to flee Czechoslovakia in 1938.
The semi-naked figure, nearly twice life size, appears to float, despite being cast in concrete around a metal armature. The statue was part of a post-War programme to bring art to Londoners and also to thank locals for the disruption caused by the Great West Road.
Over the decades, however, the concrete started to cracked and the internal structure got rusty, putting the whole structure at risk. The Heritage of London Trust has now raised more than 50,000 pounds to fund its renovation, says its director, Nicola Stacey:
“Concrete is actually quite hard, but over the years the outer layer of concrete has eroded, and some of the iron armature is now exposed. And of course, once that happens, the whole thing starts to corrode and it is very vulnerable.
“So it has been on the heritage at risk register since 2017. We have been trying to restore it since 2018, but it has taken quite a long time for people to really understand how important it is that we have it restored.”
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