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Selfridges announces a new partnership with Yorkshire Sculpture Park with a presentation of specially commissioned work by Holly Hendry

15 May 2018

Selfridges is building on its long-standing relationship with the arts by inaugurating three new permanent locations dedicated to contemporary art this year. One is the result of an exciting new partnership with Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture. 

The Art Block – 15 May
Selfridges and Yorkshire Sculpture Park will co-curate Art Block, a new permanent destination for contemporary sculpture within Selfridges – a first in Selfridges’ history. The Art Block is a marble and steel monolith designed by David Chipperfield as part of his commission to create Selfridges’ new Accessories Hall, due for completion this summer, and set to become the world’s largest destination for luxury handbags and accessories. The Art Block has been designed to showcase large pieces of contemporary art that can weigh up to 3.5 tonnes and measure well over 4 metres in height, thanks to the very high ceilings within the space.

The Art Block will present a series of six-month long residencies, showing newly commissioned artworks in captivating and unexpected ways, which will be curated by Selfridges in partnership with Helen Pheby, Senior Curator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The first residency, from May to the end of October, by London-based British artist Holly Hendry, will exhibit a new site-specific sculpture titled Phyllis. Phyllis stands at nearly 4-metres tall and features rubble created by the construction of the new Accessories Hall, along with silicone, gum, soap, ash, grit, lipstick pigment, aluminium, steel, jesmonite and marble. Phyllis is a construction of parts, like an enormous puzzle that absorbs the Art Block. The artist has used materials that relate to products from our current environment that are accumulating in the world, referencing issues of waste and recycling.

Phyllis takes its name from one of the digging machines used in the London Crossrail dig, which is one of the UK’s most extensive archaeological undertakings. Phyllis was used to excavate a four-mile tunnel from Royal Oak Portal in West London to Farringdon via Bond Street. After completing her dig, it was decided that Phyllis was too big and heavy to be completely extracted from the tunnels, so having in effect dug her own grave, parts of Phyllis were left buried near Farringdon, providing material for future generations of archaeologists.

Helen Pheby, Senior Curator comments: “I first experienced Holly Hendry’s work at the RCA in 2016 and was hugely impressed by her innovative and assured approach to materials. Phyllis is an important and original work of sculpture that intelligently references its context and the layers of human activity that Selfridges is built upon. It has been a genuine pleasure to work with Holly and the brilliant Selfridges team on this exciting project.”

The Courtyard – early June
The second location is within Selfridges, on the London store’s third floor and is titled The Courtyard. Launching at the end of May, the new 550 sqft space stands outdoors, framed by large windows and is fully visible from the shopfloor. In its early life, the space was a functioning back-of-house courtyard and some industrial features such as pipework and steel wall-bolted ladders remain, contributing a utilitarian canvas to any artwork to be installed within it. The first artist to be commissioned to create work specifically for The Courtyard is British artist Rebecca Ackroyd. As The Courtyard is surrounded by the Body Studio – the world’s largest destination for women’s bodywear – Ackroyd was keen to produce a piece that would be sympathetic with the body theme. Based on the idea of cycles – in physical fitness as well as in the human body, the work suggests the inhale and exhale of the building, like a respiratory system that would bring life to the building, acknowledging the existence of the space in the open air. This installation will stay in place for a minimum of a year.

Crossrail’s Bond Street station – December
The third location is Crossrail’s new Bond Street station, near Selfridges, one of only 6 stations on Crossrail Rail’s Elizabeth Line going through central London and due to open in December 2018. The new Bond Street station extension will feature a specially commissioned, site-specific, work by British artist Darren Almond. The new work, co-funded by Selfridges and the City of London Corporation in partnership with White Cube for Crossrail’s Art Foundation, will be a three-dimensional installation that makes use of the spaces above and around the escalators of the new Bond Street station. Almond – a self-confessed rail enthusiast whose studio at Westbourne Park once overlooked the entrance to Crossrail’s western tunnels – will create a conceptual piece inspired by the UK’s transport heritage to challenge passengers to think about their journey and the passage of time as they move below, or above, ground. The work will be unveiled at the same time as the opening of the new station in December 2018.


Editor’s Notes

Selfridges and the arts – Selfridges has long been a supporter of the arts, with a particular interest in British-based emerging talents across all arts genres – from music to sculpture. The artists who have contributed art to Selfridges or have been commissioned to create new art for the store include: Polly Morgan, Conrad Shawcross, Nick Hornby, Jodie Carey, Banksy, Sam Taylor Wood, Brian Eno, Tracey Emin, Marc Quinn, Antony Gormley, Grayson Perry, Ben Eine, David Lachappelle among many others.

Holly Hendry – Holly graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2016 and has been creating and exhibiting extensively in various cities around the world ever since. Other than Phyllis for the Art Block at Selfridges, Holly has just exhibited at Rome’s Frutta gallery and will take part in the Liverpool Biennial later this year.

Darren Almond and Crossrail Art Foundation – Darren Almond’s diverse practice incorporates film, installation, sculpture and photography, to produce evocative meditations on time and duration as well as the themes of personal and historical memory. Almond is interested in the notions of geographical limits and the means of getting there – in particular, culturally specific points of arrival and departure. 

The Crossrail Art Foundation is a charity founded to create a unique display of large-scale art at many of the new Elizabeth line stations. The charity worked in partnership with Selfridges, the White Cube gallery and an advisory roundtable of art world representatives to select an artist for the station.

Rebecca Ackroyd – Rebecca graduated from the Royal Academy in 2015 and has been creating work for exhibitions in London, Manchester, Rome and Norway.

About Helen Pheby – Helen Pheby PhD is Senior Curator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Current and recent projects include Thukral & Tagra (2018); Katrina Palmer: The Coffin Jump (2018); Occasional Geometries: Rana Begum Curates the Arts Council Collection (2017); and Fiona Banner: Wp Wp Wp (2014). At YSP, Helen leads the curatorial team and initiated YSP’s programme of process-led and open-ended practice, which includes residences and Art by Email for artists with restricted travel opportunities. Her PhD and continued research considers why all art isn’t ‘public’. Helen has curated internationally including at NIROX Sculpture Foundation (2016) in the UNESCO Cradle of Humankind, South Africa, and the Kyiv Sculpture Project (2012) – the first open-air display of contemporary art in Ukraine.

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Holly Hendry, Phyllis, 2018, the Art Block at Selfridges

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Holly Hendry, Phyllis, 2018, the Art Block at Selfridges

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