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Warriors Head

Exhibition Piece: An abstract bronze sculpture of a head by Michael Gillespie. From the back, the shape and form is quite figuratively representational of a human head, yet from the front, the inside shows that it is entirely abstract.

Michael Gillespie (1929-2012) was a well-known bronze cast sculptor.  He created many pieces that are now displayed in colleges around Cambridge.  The piece at Impington Village College, titled ‘Warriors Head’ from 1968, and can be compared with his other similar works, such as 'Head VII' from 1969.  The 'Warrirors Head' is likely to have been Gillespie's first show of artwork at the college, as a local newspaper reported that he continued to display his sculptures at Impington "on and off" in following years.  Thus it was a chosen piece by the college in the art exhibition for 1968.

Gillespie’s sculptures are quite abstract, and often deal with the human form, but in a very figurative and powerful way.  The idea is to not look for “meaning” within his work, but rather to understand how they appear and complement the surroundings in which they are placed.  Sensations of movement and dance in bronze were also important to Gillespie.  In all his works, whether abstract or figurative, there is a strong sense of inner forms being revealed, not in a static way but always with the possibility of motion.

Gillespie will also be remembered by many as a fine bronze-caster, working for Jacob Epstein to produce numerous bronze heads and also for Elisabeth Frink, who called him the best bronze caster in England.   

Why do you think this piece is called “Warriors Head”?  How do you think the environment and the sculpture interact?

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