Orwell Memorial III
About the work
The theme of this bronze sculpture by Michael Sandle is inspired by George Orwell's book ‘1984’. Published in 1949, the novel described Orwell's vision of a future dominated by a totalitarian state, controlled by the all-powerful and omnipresent ‘Big Brother’. Sandle’s work is composed of forms derived from the novel’s dystopian vision of the state of Oceania. Within the form of an open globe, is a cube-like shape, fashioned in the form of a television with a sinister face repeated in relief on each of its six sides. This is the face of Big Brother, the all-seeing, omnipresent dictator. Sandle disliked television, regarding it as a tool for propaganda and seeing it as distorting the truth of the world. The globe and the television are set upon a pyramidal pedestal – Orwell's symbol for a hierarchic society where power is dispensed from the top to the bottom. In the novel itself, Orwell describes his Ministry of Truth as a monumental structure, its design alluding to the hierarchical power relations of society: ‘an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, three hundred metres into the air’.This sculpture was one of three different models for a proposed, but never realised memorial to Orwell. An exhibition devoted to Sandle's work on this project that toured from 1983 to 1985, was held at the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg in 1984.
About the artist
Michael Sandle was born in Weymouth, Dorset and studied at the Douglas School of Art and Technology, Isle of Man (1951–54). After completing National Service in 1956, he took evening classes at the Chester College of Art, and went on to study printmaking at the Slade School of Fine Art, London between 1956-9. He then moved to Germany where his work began to attract attention when his large bronze sculpture ‘Oranges and Lemons’ was shown at the Documenta IV exhibition at Kassel in 1968. He was invited to join the staff of the Technical College at Pforzheim and in 1980 he became Professor of the Academy of Art in Karlsruhe. Much of Sandle’s work which is predominantly concerned with the tragedies, accoutrements and fatalities of war, gained recognition in Germany earlier than in Britain. Sandle has commented that he was drawn to Germany ‘because of its tragedy, because of its ghosts, because of my childhood in the war. My heroes are European – all the painters, sculptors, authors, poets, philosophers – one wants to be part of it’.
Michael Sandle (1936 - )
- Orwell Memorial III
- Bronze sculpture
- height: 31.70 cm, width: 18.70 cm, depth: 25.40 cm
- Purchased from Fischer Fine Art, January 1986
- on base, r: Michael Sandle 2/6
- GAC number