‘Cactus Provisoire’, Trinity College, Dublin

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Another work of art in the public spaces of Trinity College, Dublin.  This large metal sculpture is ‘Cactus Provisoire’, created in 1967 by Alexander CalderBest known for his “kinetic sculptures”, this is one of his non-mobile “stabiles

It’s located in Fellow’s square, an open space between the college library used by students and the old library which houses the Book of Kells. The square is on the well traversed route  through the college between College Green and Nassau Street. So plenty of people pass this sculpture every day.

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Sphere Within Sphere at Trinity College

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Last week I had a short trip to Dublin. I was attending a conference on the western outskirts on Wednesday so flew over midday on the Tuesday from Manchester. I had a few hours to spare so decided to use the time to take another look round the recently refurbished Irish National Gallery. Walking over towards the Gallery from the stop where I disembarked from the airport bus, I cut across the grounds of Trinity College. I had a brief wander round the public areas where I spotted a number of works of art. One that particularly took my eye, near the college library, was this rather dramatic broken bronze sphere

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A little research revealed that it’s called Sfera con Sfera (Sphere within Sphere) and was created by the Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro.

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A warm October day at the YSP

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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Further along the lake we came across Bruce Beasley’s Advocate IV

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The sculpture is a collection of cubes stacked in a way so they look like a precariously balanced tower.

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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!).

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Supplement til Titlens afskaffelse

Then further on we passed Diario by Mikayel Ohanjanyan.

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A series of marble blocks bound by steel cables lying on a table.

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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.

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Close by was Six Mourners and the One Alone  by Amar Kanwar.

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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.

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Anthony Gormley’s One and Other isn’t a new work, but it looked particularly good silhouetted against the blue sky

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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

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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.

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Passing a new work by Julian Opie: People 15

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we came across Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads (2010) – 12 bronze animal heads representing the Chinese Zodiac

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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.

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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

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Finally, I don’t recall seeing this work by Willaim Turnbull before

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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.

“Mystery” sculptures at Chatsworth

We spotted a number of sculptures we hadn’t seen before while wandering around the gardens and woods during our recent visit to Chatsworth.

This giant pink shoe Pop Art sculpture is by Michael Craig-Martin and was one of 12 of his works exhibited at Chatsworth in 2014

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This baby elephant is by Barry Flanagan and was shown in the 2012 Beyond Limits exhibition

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We couldn’t find out which artists had created these next two sculptures. Any information welcome!!!

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Antithesis of Sarcophagi

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During our tour of the Beyond Limits  exhibition at Chatsworth, we spotted this large cube of granite standing on the lawn where one of the exhibits had been located during Beyond Limits 2016, but it wasn’t included in the list of this year’s exhibits.

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We wandered over and took a closer look. We noticed a number of holes drilled into the granite and peeked though them, revealing something of a surprise

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a hidden garden inside the cube!

Reading the accompanying information panel and discovered that this was a work that had originally been exhibited at the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower show last year. It was designed by Martin Cook and Gary Breeze .

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It had been included in the inaugural RHS Chatsworth House Flower Show in June this year and was still on display

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Gary Breeze’s website tells us

Antithesis of Sarcophagi represents a world turned inside out; a garden inside a sculpture; desolation versus life; civilisation versus nature. A forty-four tonne rough granite cube, one face painted with a mysterious inscription, contains a rejuvenating woodland; only visible from the stark, ash-charred exterior through small fissures in its surface.

The planting was done with great sensitivity and precision by 7 times RHS medal winner Chris Holland.

A fascinating work that’s up for sale – “price on application”. Don’t think I can afford it though!

 

 

Beyond Limits 2017

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It’s become something of a regular fixture that we visit the Beyond Limits exhibition of contemporary sculpture organised by Sothebys at Chatsworth. So last Sunday we drove over to Derbyshire to take a look at the works on display. This year the focus was entirely American with works from artists including  Isamu Noguchi, Richard Serra and Robert Indiana.

My overall impression was that this year’s exhibition wasn’t as strong as the others we’ve seen – there didn’t seem to be as much variety and there was a “sameness” about a number of the works. However, when reviewing the photographs while preparing this post, my perception changed somewhat and I found more variation than I initially thought and found that I appreciated more some of the works after a second look – albeit looking at photos. So, a worthwhile visit with some attractive sculptures and new discoveries.

So, what did we see?

Leaning Fork with Meatball and Spaghetti III  by Claes Oldenburg & Coosje Van Bruggen was the first work we saw. Not a good start for me as I wasn’t impressed. It’s meant to be amusing, I thought it was corny.

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Tropical Night Disc by Louise Nevelson. Much more interesting.

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Three sided pyramid by Sol Lewitt. Does what it says on the tin!

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Soliloquy by Isamu Noguchi, a favourite artist after discovering his work during our first visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, back in 2009

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Untitled by Joel Shapiro. Sited at the bottom of the grand cascade

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Gradiva, the first of 5 sculptures in the exhibition by Julian Schanabel. It looks like the local pigeons have been paying attention to this one.

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Golem by

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Joe by Julian Schanabel

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Si Tacuisses by Julian Schanabel

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Leutweyler for BB by Julian Schanabel

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Untitled , a second work by Joel Shapiro

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The Cave by Mark di Suvero. In previous years the works sited by the ornamental pond have been enhanced by the setting with reflections in the water. So although this was an interesting enough piece, the location didn’t really add to its appeal for me.

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Irregular Procession by Sol Lewitt

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Lock by Richard Serra.

The work is formed from five separate steel parts: two thin plates that stand upright on their sides and three smaller blocks that sit along the ground. These separate elements are not fused in any way; rather Serra relies on the forces of gravity and a careful balancing of the relative weights to achieve stability.

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One Through Zero by Robert Indiana

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Voltri Bolton X by David Smith

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Big M  by Wendell Castle. Another one that does what it says on the tin. Originally created for the Marine Midland Bank, Rochester, New York

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Barrier by Robert Morris, which looks like a giant hash tag. Of course the hash tag wasn’t quite so ubiquitous when this work was created in 1962 so an illustration how the interpretation and understanding of art works can change over time with cultural changes.

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Untitled by Sam Francis

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Column of Four Squares Excentric Gyratory III by George Rickey.

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This kinetic sculpture was attracting a lot of interest as it moved, twisting a twirling  randomly. I think most people were fascinated and wondered how it worked. I think its movements depended on the wind.

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Source by Tony Smith. Although painted with a uniform colour the two tone nature of the pigment created some interesting optical effects. I rather liked this work because of that.

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Curvae in Curvae by Beverly Pepper. This was the last work we saw during our tour of the exhibition and it was probably my favourite. Don’t think I can afford to buy it, though!

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Of course, what I think is irrelevant really. This is a selling exhibition in a setting meant to impress the wealthy individuals and corporations who are helicoptered in to view the sculptures, with hopes of a sale. It no doubt attracts a few extra paying visitors like us to swell the Chatsworth coffers. But it’s a good opportunity to view works of art we otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to see and in a beautiful setting which enhances many of the works. All being well we’ll be back again next autumn.

NGI Renovated and Renewed

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During my visit to the National Galley of Ireland I was able to take a look at the older parts of the building that only reopened on June 15th. They’ve been closed for the past six years for extensive renovation works including building repairs, fire upgrading, environmental controls and improving accessibility.

First impressions were that the architects in charge of the project, Heneghan Peng, who were also responsible for the Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Centre, had done a good job. All the services have been well hidden and the older rooms, which I remember looking tired when I last visited them, have been refreshed and brightened up. Windows in the Shaw room, that were previously covered over to facilitate the hanging of paintings, have been uncovered making it a much brighter space lit with natural light.

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They’ve also created an airy, bright covered courtyard in the space between the between the Dargan Wing and the 1901 Milltown Wing

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At one end of the courtyard there’s a rather beautiful sinuous wooden sculpture, Magnus Modus, by Joseph Walsh, made of olive ash with a Kilkenny limestone base. It was commissioned by the Office of Public Works on behalf of the National Gallery of Ireland.

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