Last Saturday, as part of the national Museums at Night 2014 festival the Yorkshire Sculpture Park had a number of events taking place. So we decided it would be good to drive over the Pennines, especially as we hadn’t been to the YSP for a while. We booked on the curator’s tour of the Ursula von Rydingsvard exhibition in the Underground gallery which opened recently. It turned out to be a gorgeous, warm, sunny day, and as we’d driven over early, arriving early afternoon, we used the opportunity to visit the Land Art exhibition showing at the Longside Gallery and then enjoy a walk through the park, seeking out those art works installed since our last visit, as well as re-visiting some old favourites. More about these in another post
Late afternoon, we ate in the restaurant and had a browse in the shop and then it was time for the tour of the Ursula von Rydingsvard exhibition. We had seen one of her works in the outdoors after it was installed last year, and were keen to see more. She creates massive structures from red cedar – made from 2×2 and 4×4 lengths of timber and she carves and cuts them and then assembles them like giant 3d jigsaws. You really need to see them to appreciate how she works. She’s also worked in other materials – including cow and sheep intestines(!) and has made casts of her wooden sculptures in in bronze and polyurethane. She is well known in the US but not over her and this was her first major show in the UK.
The exhibition, which is the artist’s most extensive to date, illustrates the full scope of von Rydingsvard’s diverse practice, including more than 40 works of drawing and sculpture made over the last two decades, presented in YSP’s purpose-built Underground Gallery and the open air.
The curator, Sarah Coulton, gave us a tour around the rooms in the Underground gallery telling us about how the exhibition was put together, how Ursula works and giving her thoughts on some of the main pieces. It was really interesting to get the curator’s perspective and getting insights on the artist’s methods and motivations. Well worth the £5 each that it had cost us.
One little insight for me was that (and I wasn’t surprised, in fact had commented ) that Ursula is sensitised to the wood dust and resins and has to work wearing a respirator. Wood dust is a potent asthmagen.
The tour was meant to last an hour but took over an hour and a half. But we could have gone on longer. The downside was that the light had changed and the sun starting to dip over the horizon so we missed the play of evening light on the sculptures displayed outdoors. These had been cast in bronze from cedar originals. We spent an hour looking around these works and strolling round the gardens and then set off for home at 8:30.
I wish they had more late nights like this as there is always too much to see in the time available when we go over to YSP. And we didn’t feel that we had spent long enough in the Rydingsvard exhibition so will have to make another trip over for another look later in the year – it’s on until January.