Yorkshire Sculpture International at Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute
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Yorkshire Sculpture International at Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute

YSI is Yorkshire Sculpture International and it’s a 100 day festival celebrating the incredible, rich tradition and contemporary appetite that we have for sculpture
in this region. The curatorial theme of Yorkshire Sculpture International was given to us by the sculptor Phyllida Barlow. Her statement is ‘Sculpture is the most anthropological
of the art forms’ Anthropology which studies human societies and cultures
and their development. At the Henry Moore Institute the exhibition really thinks about the interplay between human history identity, belonging, difference and object. Thinking about objects
as a kind of black box recorder, is useful in terms of the work
on display here. Damien Hirst is an artist for whom Leeds was incredibly formative. He cites Leeds Art Gallery as having a huge impact on him
when he grew up and it’s great that he has shown the kind of generosity of citing Black Sheep with Gold Horns here at Leeds Art Gallery. It’s a work when seen here
in the Ziff Gallery you can’t help but re-read these Victorian paintings. Woodwork: A Family Tree of Sculpture brings together sculptures
from around the world in conversation with our collection of British sculpture. The reason for this
is to consider the ways in which makers
and their materials enter into correspondence through different
cultures and times. Many of the sculptures
on display here were collected for what
they could say about the human societies and cultures
that produced them and we’ve acknowledged
this by addressing their complicated histories. The work that you see here made by Turkish artist
Ayşe Erkmen is called three of four and what she has done is she has taken the original
Victorian roof as you can see it is an almost exact kind of replica or echo of the original,
Victorian ceiling. Tamar Harpaz used to be a filmmaker now works, really exclusively
with objects to make sprawling installations using lights, lenses and lots of
found, domestic objects and a choreographed sequence of movement or sounds
that are introduced (ringing sound) make you look all over the room from
detail to detail. Cauleen Smith’s film Sojourner really follows a lineage of sculpture but traces a narrative of racism
and resilience and ultimately offers a new
and more hopeful vision for the future. Rachel Harrison is an
American artist and I think what’s remarkable about Rachel’s work is the very contemporary but also quite playful conversation that her work has with sculptures from our collection but really thinking about
the figure in sculpture and that extraordinary history of figurative sculpture. From the classical fragments that she has photographed in Greece right up to Table Piece and HD Prime that you
see here in the gallery. Rashid Johnson has made a new sculpture called
Shea Butter Three Ways. Shea Butter is made from the extract from the Shea tree an African tree. There are three tables. One of them has a series of
anonymous, figurative busts. Another, kind of a reworking of a particular moment in
abstract sculpture. The final table is an invitation for
visitors to the exhibition to make their own forms. To make sculpture for themselves and to get stuck into the material. Maria Loboda has also
made a new work an installation called
The Chosen. She thinks very much about the meanings that have been applied to
objects historically. The Chosen exists as
a series of six lamps They look very beautiful
and alluring at first but then you notice some
strange silhouettes. Sean Lynch has made
a new installation. It follows the story
of Flint Jack a nineteenth century British
vagabond and artisan who formed a very
lucrative trade in making forgeries
of flint arrow heads that he sold to museums
throughout the country. Joanna Piotrowska carpeted the gallery she has selected three sculptures
from our collection and she very specifically placed a series of photographs. This unique installation really enables us to think about the relationship between
sculpture and photography but also the works from the collection in conversation with a
contemporary artist. We invited Japanese artist
Nobuko Tsuchiya to actually create a studio on site here at Leeds Art Gallery. She has been
casting, sanding, welding creating sculpture and the chance to see that
taking place has been really exciting not just for us but also for our visitors.

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