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Jaume Plensa, Sophie Ryder, Dennis Oppenheim and Barbara Hepworth at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

June 5, 2011

(photo by YSP)

I had the great fortune to go with some friends last thursday to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

in West Bretton near Wakefield. It was a scorching day weatherwise and the exciting energy of the

sculptures and the beauty of the grounds made the whole event such a worthwhile day out.

We started off with the work of Sophie Ryder. Her association with YSP began in 1986 during her

residency,immediately after graduating from the RA Schools. Her work is an exploration of the female

psyche and sexuality and frequently references the artist’ s own body as it morphs with the powerful

energy and form of the hare.

There were a couple of rather bizarre looking pieces from American Sculptor Dennis Oppenheim.

A key figure in the US Land Art movement, Dennis was an influential international artist who created

sculpture, installations, interventions, performances, actions, happenings and photographic works.

His work was characterised by a constant shifting of style and ceaseless creative output.

It’s easy to see why so many people go to the Sculpture Park as it’s not just about the work on show, the

views are equally spectacular.

For me the highlight of the whole day was the fantastic work of the Spanish born Jaume Plensa.

It has been a while since I’ve been so pleasantly surprised by one person’s work and that the scale and

beauty of it, was something to marvel at and be captivated by. It was a special feeling.

Fortunately we ended up in the Longside Gallery towards the end of the day and that’s when the whole

experience just got better and better. There’s a beautiful collection of exhibits by Jaume in there, starting

with a row of metal letters suspended on wires. You are encouraged to run your fingers along them

as you walk by and it gives off such a soothing Tibetan Prayer Drum / Wind Chime sound that you’re

tempted to just sit in the warm sun and listen to it all day long !.

Inside the four galleries were more delights. Initially some wall mounted figures depicting the phrase

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil and then some huge heads with an eerie inner glow to them,

sitting among a sea of white pebbles.

The next gallery had a collection of alabaster heads. All facing you as you walk into the room but with

a calm stillness that at first made you both uncomfortable but also a series of questions played in

my mind. What were they made of ? Were they computerised faces ? Would they move or suddenly open

their eyes, speak or scream or turn their heads. Why were they so elongated and soulful ?

Then a room with beautiful brass gongs suspended in a circle. You were allowed to bang them and stood

captivated as the resounding boom built around you.

(photo YSP)

There were also a series of models made by Jaume to show ideas and other pieces he’d created.

Finally a few garden sculptures by Barbara Hepworth and to mention that The Hepworth Museum

is also open nearby in Wakefield as an additional place to see whilst in the local area.

More info about it here.

I can’t recommend the experience of going to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park enough.

Go and take it all in and enjoy the journey. Find the YSP here.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Julian permalink
    June 5, 2011 9:50 am

    Wow, YSP does it again. I’ll have to get over there soon, Jaume’s work is wonderful. Were the poppy fields not yet in bloom?

    • June 5, 2011 9:54 am

      Alas no, the poppies weren’t apparent. I expected to see them as it was the right time of year.

  2. June 5, 2011 11:45 am

    YSP have some really great shows, Im looking forward to going to see that exhibition. I visited the Hepworth last week, its worth going just to see the building. The spaces inside are fab and the windows are huge and have amazing views of the river and boat yards and its only 7 miles fromYSP.

    • June 5, 2011 12:15 pm

      Thanks for the info on the Hepworth Jane , I didn’t have enough time to see both but I will go back to see that again, sounds like a great place too. I love your bird designs on glass, beautiful work.

  3. Claire permalink
    June 6, 2011 3:02 pm

    Great minds think alike – I blogged about another sculpture garden today! I loved YSP when I went but Jaume’s work wasn’t there – it’s fantastic – great photos.

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