Last week, I took a long overdue visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I haven’t been for some time and the KAWS exhibition really caught my eye – I find his work interesting in how it replicates features seen on Disney characters and it’s cartoon like, yet still holds a contemporary art label.
I first took a look at the outside grounds of YSP, seeing some of the works that permanently reside at YSP, that I have seen before on my previous visit.
NOT VITAL exhibition
Born in 1948, Not Vital is a Swiss artist best known for his large scale sculptures. His solo exhibition around YSP exhibits many of his Large silver sculptures. These are really eye catching and have a great dynamic with their modern shape and colour contrasted with the natural landscape, which most of the other open air sculptures at YSP don’t have. I think the fact Not Vital has used silver/metal for the works makes them feel untouchable, as thought they have vast worth. I also really liked how it became a mirror of the landscape and you when you stood in front of them, making you part of the work – its a different visual each time; as the people in the work changes, the sky appears different, there won’t be the same photo of the work twice which I really love the idea of.
The standout piece by Not Vital for me was ‘Pelvis’, 2008. This work was placed on the top of a hill, which was interesting how you always looked up to it; the piece always looked down on everything else. The reason I liked this piece foremost was how it was part of the human body, and it was so glorified by it’s material, scale and placement. To me it was a random choice to use the pelvis, but it made me think more about the work because it was so glorified – an aspect I really like in an artwork.
AT HOME exhibition
This exhibition was indoors in a small rectangular room, divided by a wall. This room featured many works along the theme of the domestic. There were very diverse and different works, but they all clearly related to the idea of nostalgia, belonging, home, and were put into a very residential space, which heightened the context of the works. Below are images of some the highlights of this exhibition:
Text Based art at YSP
As I am focusing on text based art, I found a few stand out pieces that incorporated and used text in an interesting way.
The first was ‘Art for All/Art makes children powerful’ by Bob and Roberta Smith, 2013. This is a large scale banner type piece, as seen below. I wasn’t struck by this work due to its placement, situated on the outskirt of YSP and basically in the car park. Now I consider this it could have possibly been an attempt to be an information sign, but when I first saw it, I thought about how powerful the visual of the piece is and its context, but it’s been thrown to the side which took away some of it’s powerful statement. Maybe if I was driving and saw the sign as I left, It would be different. This work really made me consider how placement can change an artwork so easily.
I then came across Brian Fell’s ‘Ha-Ha Bridge’, 2006. This was one of my favourite works at YSP. I really loved the placement of it and how you just stumble across the piece in the woods. I really like how Fell has made something really dynamic from a normal object – it was a great opportunity to use the space and need for an object. This piece is explained brilliantly by YSP;
“In creating the Ha-Ha Bridge for Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Fell has provided an elegant design which also reveals further levels of meaning. By incorporating the word itself into the sides of the bridge he not only refers directly to the ha-ha beneath but also provides an amusing reminder of the original coining of the term derived from the cry of surprise at discovering a boundary”.
Quote from – http://www.ysp.co.uk/whats-on/open-air/brian-fell
I also noticed that the path leading to the entrance of YSP has names of contributes in the walkway which I found quite interesting to see and I really like the use of the space – very innovative:
Roger Hiorns – Seizure, 2008
I then stumbled upon a hidden away concrete building, where people were queuing up to enter. Groups of 5 or less were lead to a bench inside the space, where you were asked to put on shoe covers, and at the end of the space was a crate looking cube. I’ve never experienced this lead up for an artwork before – It heightened my curiosity and expectations; to have to go through all this effort for a piece means it has to be something special. It came to my groups turn to venture into the crate and I was very surprised by what I saw. A removed 2 room council flat completely covered in Blue crystals. The artist had removed his environment from its original building and grown copper sulphate in the entirety of his home. It was so mesmerizing and impressive, how Hiorns had changed his own space so drastically, but it still had homely qualities to it; skirting board, ceiling light, bathroom with bath, door frames. I was also shocked at how he had removed his home from the rest of the council flat estate, It made me think of how a space can become you and so personal. I was a really strange feeling knowing you are in someone’s home although it looks completely different, like you have stumbled into an abandoned fantasy cave – a very surreal experience.
Unable to find any of KAWS’ works, I found out you had to wait outside for a van to pick you up to take you to another area where all the works were featured. This was also quite a surreal experience in that, you had to be driven to another space just to view the work.
At the top of the hill was a open plan space, with a wall of window at the end overlooking the landscape. There were several large scale sculptures in this space as well as some wall mounted paintings. I really like the innocent yet complex nature of Kaws’ work, as I’ve already mentioned they have a resemblance of Disney but the characters are far from that; they have quite a sad and pitiful atmosphere and blank stares, they almost feel like a shell of a person. The contrast of the cartoonish and colourful visual but also appearing to be unresponsive and dead on the inside is an aspect I admire about KAWS’ work.
Overall, a really fantastic visit to Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park – http://www.ysp.co.uk/
All photos taken by myself.