Yorkshire Sculpture Park – Spring 2017

I’ve just come back from a return trip to Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I first visited in January 2017 and I enjoyed it so much I couldn’t wait to go again. As per my visit in January it rained, this time it was torrential, but it didn’t really matter because there were so many new exhibits on display I hardly noticed.

I love sculpture, it’s a shame you can’t touch it because that’s the most enticing thing about 3 dimensional art – even the sculptures in the garden are roped off and being a conformist  I wouldn’t dare chance a stroke for fear of a loud speaking shouting at me from a loud-speaker. You can obviously take pictures though and you are free to wander freely amongst the grounds whichever way you like.

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Zodiac Heads – Ai WeiWei
I’m not exactly sure how many times a year the exhibits are changed, I assume at least twice, perhaps quarterly? What I do know is that there is some very impressive work on show this spring – from artists that you wouldn’t normally anticipate being on display in the North of England.

My favourite this time is undoubtedly Ai WeiWei’s Zodiac Heads (2010) – a dramatic group of 12 bronze animal heads that has been on a worldwide tour since May 2011 and are at YSP in celebration of its 40th anniversary this year. YSP already has Iron Tree (2013)  on permanent loan  – which still resides next to the Chapel, but Zodiac Heads is a new addition and a real hit, particularly with the kids.

Zodiac Heads – Ai WeiWei
Also new for Spring and located inside the Chapel is an incredible piece by Cornelia Parker, who exhibited her exploding shed at Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery last year to huge acclaim. Part of[RE]CONSTRUCT which ‘highlights the close and complex relationship between sculpture and architecture’,  Neither From, Nor Towards features weathered bricks belonging to houses which fell into the sea due to erosion. If you visit make sure you take the stairs to the top so you can see the piece in full view.

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Neither From Nor Towards – Cornelia Parker
Last time I visited the Underground Gallery was closed so I was delighted to be able to visit the new exhibition by leading British sculptor Tony Cragg. A Rare Category of Objects is on show from 4th March until 3rd September 2017 and gives an insight into the career of Tony Cragg and his fascination with using different materials to bring unique ideas to like – these were pieces I really, really wanted to touch as they were simply breathtaking.

Tony Cragg – A Rare Category of Objects

Also back on show this spring is Barbara Hepworth’s artwork The Family of Man (1970) which has been at YSP since 1980 and was restored last year. The artwork is made up of nine individual bronze sculptures, which represent figures in landscape and was one of her last major works Hepworth completed before her death in 1975.

There are over 80 sculptures on display in the open air and you will find a surprise around every corner, it’s an incredible place to spend the day whatever the weather, and whatever your interest so get on down there. There’s no entry price, just the cost of parking (£8 for the day) and a superb restaurant and gift shop so there really is no reason not to visit.

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Crawling (1999) Sophie Ryder
Opening Times:

Grounds and YSP Centre 10.00 – 18.00

Galleries 10.00 – 17.00

Yorkshire Sculpture Park
West Bretton
Wakefield WF4 4LG
SatNav WF4 4JX
United Kingdom
+44(0)1924 832631

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Octopus (2011) by Marialuisa Tadei

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