Sculpture Diaries (4 stars)

Channel 4, Sun 31 Aug, 7pm

DOCUMENTARY

Dead Ringers once made a big impersonating deal of the rivalry between TV historians Simon Schama and David Starkey. Maybe one day we’ll see small screen art guys Waldemar Januszczak and Matthew Collings doing some doppelganger bitching at one another, but for now we get this compelling series on sculpture from Mr Januszczak.

The aim of his three-part documentary series is simple: to show that sculpture is not, as one eminent gallery owner told him, the thing you fall over when you step back to look at the paintings. For Januszczak, it’s the exact opposite and he sets out to prove that sculpture is the single most important genre in visual art. The opening episode has him focussing on how women have been portrayed from the Venus de Milo to Marc Quinn’s controversial Trafalgar Square statue of the pregnant Alison Lapper via African art. Most of the show’s exhibits are things of beauty until he touches on the sinister work of surrealist Hans Bellmer whose construction of sexualised dolls may have tickled The Beatles but clearly sends shudders down Waldo’s back.

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