Sunday was forecast to be an unseasonably warm day in advance of the remains of Hurricanee Ophelia hitting us on Monday. We decided to make the most of it. I’d considered driving up to the Lakes but the forecast for there wasn’t so good so we decided to head over the M62 to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park where a new exhibition – Alfredo Jaar: The Garden of Good and Evil – had just opened in the Underground Gallery. Driving home late afternoon we learned that there had been an accident on the M6 near Kendal leading to both sides of the motorway being shut for several hours. Turned out to be a good decision then.
It was a good decision in other ways too as it was a beautiful sunny day for a walk around the grounds where we saw some new works on display, plus we caught one exhibition that had just opened in the Underground Gallery and one that was due to close in a few days in the Longside Gallery. Both were very good. More about them in future posts.
Here’s a few photos of some of the new works in the grounds.
This stunning work, standing seven metres high on the south shore of the Lower Lake is Wilsis by Jaume Plensa. It’s one of his series of portrait heads depicting young girls from around the world, with their eyes closed in a dreamlike state of contemplation. (Like Dream on the former Sutton Manor Colliery site in St Helens – which we’ve still never got round to visiting – although we’ve seen it many times from the motorway on the way to Liverpool)
Wilsis is a fascinating exploration of perspective through the flattening of form, an idea that grew out of Plensa’s desire to understand what happens on the other side, on the reverse of things with which we are familiar, such as letters printed on a page, or a portrait head on a coin. From the front the head appears realistic, yet from the side it is an extremely flattened relief.
Further along the lake we came across Bruce Beasley’s Advocate IV
The sculpture is a collection of cubes stacked in a way so they look like a precariously balanced tower.
We walked up to the Longside Gallery to see the exhibition Occasional Geometries, curated by Bangladeshi-born artist Rana Begum with works selected largely from the Arts Council Collection. After we’d looked round we set off back down towards the Lower lake via the east side of the park, passing some favourite works by Andy Goldsworthy.
Walking along the north shore of the lake we spotted this sculpture by the Swedish sculptor Jørgen Haugen Sørensen (well, he had to be Swedish with a name like that!).
Supplement til Titlens afskaffelse
Then further on we passed Diario by Mikayel Ohanjanyan.
A series of marble blocks bound by steel cables lying on a table.
Looking closely we could see writing carved inside the fissures in the blocks – listing the names of all the people the artist has ever met.
Close by was Six Mourners and the One Alone by Amar Kanwar.
Made from timber from the 19th century Chapel organ that was dismantled due to irreparable damage. The seven pipes represent the six mourners, who count the
dead and the one alone, who gathers and memorises testimonies of the living.
Anthony Gormley’s One and Other isn’t a new work, but it looked particularly good silhouetted against the blue sky
Black and Blue: The Invisible Men and the Masque of Blackness was attracting a lot of attention. An army of identical two-metre-tall figures by the British-Trinidadian artist Zak Ové
The figures are based on a small dark wood sculpture given to him as a child by his father, the filmmaker Horace Ové, in the 1970s.
Passing a new work by Julian Opie: People 15
we came across Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads (2010) – 12 bronze animal heads representing the Chinese Zodiac
Ai reinterpreted the 12 bronze heads representing the traditional Chinese zodiac that once adorned the famed fountain-clock of the Yuanming Yuan, the imperial summer palace retreat in Beijing. Ransacked in 1860 during the Second Opium War by the British and French, only seven of the original heads have been returned to China – the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, horse, monkey, and boar. The locations of the other five – dragon, snake, goat, rooster, and dog – are still unknown.
Cast in bronze and standing three-metres-high, the sculptures each weigh 363kg. Through the re-interpretation of the heads on a larger scale, Ai comments and encourages debate on the politics of ownership, cultural history, repatriation and authenticity. The artist also wanted the work to be playful and accessible to the general public.
Matthew Day Jackson’s Magnificent Desolation, created by , directly references one of Auguste Rodin’s most famous sculptures Les Burghers de Calais.
According to history, King Edward III offered to spare the town if they sacrificed six of its most powerful leaders. Rodin chose to capture the heroic expressions of the six volunteers who were to be executed to save their people. Day Jackson has taken these figures of heroic self-sacrifice and, through using a computer generated 3D model of a map, has placed them on a moonscape as subtitute astronauts. Named after Buzz Aldren’s autobiography and first-hand account of landing on the moon, Magnificent Desolation is cast in bronze, a material often used for memorials, and combines the fated heroism of both Les Burghers de Calais and the risks of space travel.
A new Henry Moore (new to YSP, that is) – Reclining Connected Forms
Finally, I don’t recall seeing this work by Willaim Turnbull before
Queen 2 was
inspired by his knowledge of ancient cultures and their artefacts; revealing the sculptural potential of utilitarian and functional objects.
This was only a fraction of the art works we saw during our visit. It’s always worth a visit to the YSP, a chance to look at first class art while taking a walk through a pleasant country park. Especially pleasurable on a war, sunny, autumn day.