They are not just men running in a landscape; they are fugitive also--either running away from something or running to something.
Captured mid-stride, this tall, lithe figure pushes forward toward an unknown destination. His wiry limbs highlight his athleticism and potential for speed, but also convey fragility. His nakedness, as well as the sculpture's pocked surface, reinforces this vulnerability. A minimally defined face reveals only an impassive expression--this is a human figure outside of time or place.
Elisabeth Frink traced her interest in sculpting the male figure back to World War II. As a child, her family lived near an airfield that was visited frequently by Polish airmen who struck her as foreign and mysterious. According to the artist, many of her representations of men were influenced by these early memories and consequently she treated the male body as withheld, mysterious, and threatening. In addition to producing many male busts, Frink created imposing, essentially anonymous men in a variety of poses or guises--standing, seated, spinning, winged, and on horseback. She began a series of running men in the mid-1970s. In this series, Frink explores and exploits the tension between strength and vulnerability, feeling and suffering.