After visiting the Tate Modern extension on Sunday I went outside for some fresh air and to get a look at the dramatic new building from the outside. Walking past NEO, the development of posh, expensive flats just behind the Switch House, I spotted a sculpture. I recognised the style from one I’d seen at last year’s Beyond Limits exhibition at Chatsworth. Checking the inscription on the plinth confirmed that it was by Emily Young – ‘Britain’s greatest living stone sculptor’ according to the Financial Times
Exploring further I discovered several of these distinctive stone heads positioned around the NEO buildings.
Stillness Born of History II
Amiata, Warrior Head
Lost Mountain Head I
Her style is quite distinctive. Most of the heads are only partially formed with the remaining part of the sculpture left as the “raw” stone. It’s almost as if they’re unfinished; half done. Alternatively they can be viewed as the face emerging from the stone or, perhaps the opposite – the heads crumbling away.
A little browsing on the Internet reveals an interesting back story about the artist. In her youth she was something of a “wild child” and was the Emily of See Emily Play by Pink Floyd, composed during their psychedelic period. It was written by original frontman Syd Barrett and recorded on 23 May 1967.