Last Sunday we decided to drive over to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. A new exhibition had opened the previous week that we wanted to see and it’s always nice to combine seeing good contemporary art with a walk through the Country park, especially on a sunny day.
The new exhibition is devoted to the work of an Italian artist, Giuseppe Penone. I’d seen an exhibition of his work in the gardens of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam a couple of years ago so was familiar with his work. Rather like David Nash, much of his work is created from trees, often integrating with other natural materials like rocks and marble. Like Nash he also casts trees and wood and bark in bronze.
As usual with the major YSP exhibitions, works were displayed both outdoors around the park and gardens and inside the Underground Gallery.
Pathway 6 (1986) – a bronze work of a human like figure made of bark growing out of a tree
Bifurcation (1991) – a bronze sculpture of a tree trunk with a handprint from which water flows – I’d seen this one in Amsterdam
Stone veins between the branches (2015), another work I’d seen in Amsterdam. A bronze tree trunk supporting a large granite block which has two smooth faces while the other two bear the drill marks made during the extraction of the block from the quarry
Lighting Struck tree (2012) – yet another work I’d seen in Amsterdam
One of the first works we saw in the Underground Gallery was In the Wood (2008). Here the artist had taken a block of wood and cut into it, carving back to a single tree ring so it appears as if a young sapling is emerging from the block.
The centrepiece that straddled the three rooms in the Gallery, Matrix (2015)was a large pine tree split in half along it’s length and then with the middle carved out following a tree ring. The two halves facing each other.
Other works in the first room were two marble works. Body of Stone – Branches (2016) has bronze branches that seem to be growing out of the stone
In a companion piece – Body of Stone – Grid (2016), the marble is covered by a metal grid which appears to eat into the stone
The works in the second room included With Eyes Closed (2009), a picture in which the artist’s eyes are rendered in thousands of acacia thorns.
and Skin of Graphite (2012) where graphite has been used to reproduce the pattern on the surface of the artist’s skin. Inspired by a visit to a Yorkshire coal mine in 1989, the work was produced by taking an impression directly from his skin, projecting the pattern formed onto a larger canvas and tracing over it, so magnifying the pattern.
Moving into the third room, the back wall was dominated by To breathe the shadow (2008) consisting of a collection of laurel leaves held in a mesh cage, with a bronze sculpture of a branch and an impression of the artist’s face in the centre
The left wall was covered with a drawing, Propogation (1998/2018) with an enlarged impression of the artist’s fingerprint at the centre
Another marvellous exhibition. We’re never disappointed by all of those we’ve seen at the YSP since our first visits about 10 years ago. And there was more to see (and write up!). The days always seem to disappear when we’re there. I’m certainly not a Telegraph reader, but looking at the review on their website I have to agree that
It all adds up to perhaps the best day out in British art.