Private view: Bronze: British Contemporary Art

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The Independent Online

This selection of biggish, bronze sculptures by 30 contemporary British artists should be a promising exhibition, given its outdoor setting and the current crop of good sculptors around at the moment. Even more promising, though, is the fact that it's organised by the borough of Kensington & Chelsea in partnership with Goodwood - a name that has become synonymous with excellence and for having a broad view of the best of British sculpture.

This selection of biggish, bronze sculptures by 30 contemporary British artists should be a promising exhibition, given its outdoor setting and the current crop of good sculptors around at the moment. Even more promising, though, is the fact that it's organised by the borough of Kensington & Chelsea in partnership with Goodwood - a name that has become synonymous with excellence and for having a broad view of the best of British sculpture.

So what went wrong? How this selection came to be made eludes me. There are, of course, a few good choices and some that almost get away with it thanks to the cleverly contrived setting and installation. For the most part, though, there's a kind of forced jokiness about the work that strives to appeal to the lowest level of popular taste.

Part of the problem, perhaps, is that many of our best sculptors don't often work in bronze; for instance, David Nash's first work in the medium is included here - a giant three-part cast of one of his wonderful burnt-wood carvings. However, where the wooden original has depth and power, the bronze is a dead and pointless lump. Like the exhibition itself, it seems ill thought-out. A wasted opportunity.

Holland Park, Kensington High Street, London W8 (020-7361 3058) to Mar 2001

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