Sanit Forma

Richard Hollinshead

Research output: Non-Textual OutputArtefact


Sanit Forma is a sculpture, first exhibited in The Vagaries and Misconceptions of the Modern Man exhibition (2018), Vane Gallery, Newcastle, UK. The sculpture references the louche form of the Barberini Faun, a 3rd century BC Hellenistic sculpture copied numerous times throughout the 17th to 19th centuries. Influential on generations of sculptors from Bernini (who worked on its restoration) onwards, the Barberini Faun is part of an established lineage in the study of sculpture and has a wider influence on defining an idealised male body. Sanit Forma reworks this composition in relation to gym culture and contemporary male identity, with the ‘faun’ engaged with a gym-type structure that simultaneously offers support, constraint and inspection. A towel hangs down from the support structure, forming a ‘cape’ for the figure, but this putative superhero will never fly. Sanit Forma was discussed as part of the conference paper Losing Touch: Moulding Meaning in Contemporary Sculpture presented in the panel Moulds as Cultural & Material Mediators (chaired by Hannah Kinney & Emily Knight, University of Oxford) in the CAA2018 conference, Los Angeles, USA. In this context the sculpture was discussed in relation to the varied casting aesthetics and techniques at play in the contemporary sculpture of Jeff Koons, Sarah Lucas, Ron Mueck and Roberto Coughi. The conceptual basis for Sanit Forma was also explored as part of the conference paper Fit for Purpose: The Classical Millstone, the Classical Touchstone presented at the Art, Classicism and Discourse from 1755 to Today conference at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK in 2019. In this context the discussion focussed on the nuances of composition, figurative poses and body typologies to draw out the connections between classical ideals and mythologies with contemporary gym culture and male body image. Sanit Forma forms part of an ongoing wider body of research, primarily sculpture, titled No More Heroes which deploys the classical tradition within sculpture to explore contemporary issues relating to the body: bio-engineering, the increasing plurality of body ideals, stereotypical male activities and behaviours etc. This research also engages with recent debates around the relationships between sculpture, the museum, tourism and social media.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2018


  • sculpture
  • classicism
  • body image
  • gym culture


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