Andy Goldsworthy: Peter's Fold
Peter's Fold is a permanent outdoor artwork by Andy Goldsworthy OBE to mark the retirement of Founding Director Sir Peter Murray CBE, who was Knighted in 2022 for his contribution to culture.
Peter founded YSP whilst he was Principal Lecturer at Bretton Hall College with an exhibition of sculpture in its grounds in 1977. He has shown rare dedication to enabling access to the arts and over the years YSP has supported thousands of artists, including Andy Goldsworthy, who has a long relationship with the organisation and who proposed Peter’s Fold near the Longside Gallery at YSP.
In Britain, folds have been made for hundreds of years as animal pens and Goldsworthy has developed the traditional fold to make contemporary sculptures. Peter’s Fold was built using drystone techniques by master wallers who have worked with the artist for many years. The Yorkshire sandstone was sourced from Hillhouse Edge Quarry in nearby Holmfirth. It is built around a common lime tree with distinctive epicormic growth, which occurs when dormant buds beneath the bark become active.
“One of the main reasons I chose the Longside tree is because of the way cattle have eaten the lower leaves and branches. In summer, the tree appears to hover above the ground. The interaction between tree and animal (whether that be cattle or people) lies at the heart of Peter’s Fold. The tree has thrived despite being hammered by cattle. Indeed, compaction will be reduced if people stand under the tree instead of cattle. The exposed, well- worn roots that radiate from the tree are very much part of the work – an ongoing work in progress. A meeting place between the tree and people. There will also hopefully be a powerful counterpoint between the intimate, dark view inside the fold and the expansive view on the outside looking back across the Park. From this site you can see the old college, the new galleries and, on a clear day, The Weston. It looks back at some of Peter’s achievements.”- Andy Goldsworthy, artist
Goldsworthy has a deep understanding of natural materials and he first made work at YSP in 1983 as part of a Land Art conference. He returned in 1987 at Peter’s invitation for a seasonal residency, documented in a book called Parkland. During this residency Goldsworthy made temporary works each season, using only what was available, such as autumn leaves, thorns and winter snow and ice. He has gone on to become one of the most respected artists of his generation, with projects in many countries. Goldsworthy made a permanent work in 2006 and his subsequent exhibition in 2007-08 was one of YSP’s best-loved and most visited projects.
Peter’s Fold joins three other permanent sculptures by Goldsworthy that relate to the history and politics of landscape. These are Outclosure, in the Round Wood, Hanging Trees on Oxley Bank and Shadow Stone Fold in the Country Park. Peter’s Fold is a celebration of Peter’s achievement in creating YSP, made by someone with a close connection to the place and is a gift from the artist, supported by the collector Roger Evans who also helped make the earlier Land Art works at YSP possible.