Morote Seoi Nage by Sophie Dickens

Sophie Dickens is a contemporary sculptor of rare talents. Her dynamic sculptures are widely exhibited and both commissioned and collected internationally. 

Art at the Edge is a social enterprise public art organisation, who have commissioned 30 British artists to produce bronze sculptures celebrating 30 different Olympic and Paralympic sports for their exhibition, ‘Sculpture and Sport a celebration for 2012’.

They were delighted when Sophie agreed to depict judo and arranged for her to gain access to Olympic hopefuls training with Team Bath.

Sophie took photographs and sketched the judoka who repeated the Morote Seoi Nage throw over and over again for her to work out the mechanics of the technique. With a foundation in the sound principles studied in the Department of Anatomy at University College London, and her original and dramatic approach to constructing sculptures from shaped pieced of oak, Sophie’s work depicts movement and balance in a dramatically successful way, ideally suited to Judo as a subject. 

In ‘MoroteSeoiNage’, the artist has caught a moment in time that captures the very essence and very soul of judo. There is little body contact between the contestants and it is moment of total abandonment. It is a freeze frame in time and space that every judoka will recognise and would have felt. Both have lost control of their fate. The thrower feels no weight and the thrown feels no gravity. It is a moment of total victory and total defeat, it is exhilarating and addictive. It is what makes every winner practice more to repeat and every loser practice more to avoid. It is an ‘Ippon’, it is Judo at its greatest and its rewarding best. 

The judo sculpture has been so well received that Sophie was asked to produce a life size version which has now been cast in bronze. This truly spectacular large scale artwork can be seen as part of the exhibition ‘Sculpture and Sport a celebration for 2012’ currently on at the Ashmolean Museum Oxford until 20th May, and will also be on show when the exhibition moves to the Victoria Art Gallery Bath, from 26th May – 1st July. 

The organisers very much hope to be able to exhibit the large scale sculpture at the judo event at the ExCel Centre during the Games and are working towards this aim. The collection of 30 bronzes will also be exhibited atgallery@oxo in London from 31st July- 12th August 2012. All the sculptures are for sale as limited editions and profits from the project go to support disabled and disadvantaged young people through the life changing work of the Youth Sport Trust and British Paralympic Association. 

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