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Yorkshire Sculpture International announce dates and theme

28 Jun 2018

The first Yorkshire Sculpture International, the UK’s largest event celebrating sculpture, will take place from Saturday 22 June to Sunday 29 September 2019.

Yorkshire Sculpture International is produced by a unique consortium comprising The Henry Moore Institute, The Hepworth Wakefield, Leeds Art Gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The event will feature work by international artists across the four venues, as well as major new outdoor sculpture commissions across public spaces in Leeds and Wakefield, inviting visitors to interact with art in unexpected places in the cities. All elements of the Yorkshire Sculpture International programme will be free to attend, encouraging new audiences to engage with sculpture.

Invited to be the ‘provocateur’ for the first Yorkshire Sculpture International, renowned sculptor Phyllida Barlow proposed a series of thought-provoking statements. The 2019 event will explore one of the most compelling of these – ‘Sculpture is the most anthropological of the art forms’ - responding to the idea that there is a basic human impulse to make and connect with objects. Phyllida Barlow represented Britain at the 2017 Venice Biennale and her work has been shown widely across Yorkshire, including the exhibition for the inaugural Hepworth Prize for Sculpture in 2016, for which she was shortlisted. Two of her sculptures are on permanent display at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, whilst a collection of her drawings is held in the Leeds Museums & Galleries permanent collection. Phyllida Barlow comments:

“Sculpture is an awkward and provocative discipline, constantly and persistently questioning itself. Yorkshire Sculpture International is an imaginative initiative - the renowned institutions centred in Leeds and Wakefield, which already constitute an exceptional focus on sculpture, will provide a challenging and inspirational opportunity to give priority to what sculpture is now – who it is for, what it is, and where and how it is located. No doubt each institution will reflect different concerns and raise questions around the rich potential of what sculpture can be – the more confrontational, surprising, difficult and thought-provoking, the better.”

Building upon the region’s rich history as the birthplace and home of sculptors including Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Damien Hirst, Yorkshire Sculpture International will showcase the breadth and diversity of contemporary sculpture practice, inspiring audiences to rethink what they understand the form to be.

Yorkshire Sculpture International has now raised more than £1 million, including a National Lottery funded Ambition for Excellence grant from Arts Council England and regional investment from Leeds 2023, Wakefield Council, Leeds Beckett University and The University of Leeds.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, comments:

“We’re delighted to be supporting the first edition of Yorkshire Sculpture International with investment from the Arts Council. The Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle is already considered the UK’s home of sculpture, and this event will significantly strengthen the region’s international profile as a cultural dest ination. I am looking forward to seeing contemporary sculpture in Leeds’ and Wakefield's world-class galleries and also in the public realm.”

The event will be accompanied by an extensive engagement programme working with schools, universities, communities, and a talent development programme for artists based in the region. As part of this programme, ‘The Year of Sculpture’, starting in September 2018, will address the decline in the study of arts subjects in schools, in particular the deficit of 3D learning in classrooms.

In a partnership with Art UK, five Yorkshire schools will be lent a world-class sculpture for the day from The Henry Moore Institute, The Hepworth Wakefield, Leeds Art Gallery or Yorkshire Sculpture Park . Works being lent for the initiative will be chosen by the school children involved from a list of artists including Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Anne Hardy.

Meanwhile a partnership with The Freelands Foundation will enable ten teachers working in Yorkshire to take part in a Continuing Professional Development Programme to upskill their teaching and artistic practice, exploring how sculpture can be used in the classroom. This has been developed in response to a call from teachers in the region to learn new ways of introducing 3D work back into schools.



Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle

Yorkshire boasts a unique artistic legacy as the birthplace of two of the most important 20th century sculptors - Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. In 2013, Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle was established by partner venues The Henry Moore Institute, The Hepworth Wakefield, Leeds Art Gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture Park to celebrate this heritage, and to put Yorkshire on the map as Europe's leading destination to see and appreciate modern and contemporary sculpture. ysculpture.co.uk

The Henry Moore Institute
The Henry Moore Institute is a world-recognised centre for the study of sculpture in the heart of Leeds. An award-winning exhibitions venue, research centre, library and sculpture archive, the Institute hosts a year-round programme of exhibitions, conferences and lectures, as well as developing research and publications, to expand the understanding and scholarship of historical and contemporary sculpture. The Institute is part of The Henry Moore Foundation, which was set up by Henry Moore in 1977 to encourage appreciation of the visual arts, especially sculpture. henry-moore.org/visit/henry-moore-institute

The Hepworth Wakefield
Designed by the acclaimed David Chipperfield Architects, The Hepworth Wakefield is set within Wakefield’s historic waterfront, overlooking the River Calder. The gallery opened in May 2011 and has already welcomed almost 2 million visitors and been awarded Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017. Named after Barbara Hepworth, one of the most important artists of the 20 th century who was born and brought up in Wakefield, the gallery presents major exhibitions of the best international modern and contemporary art. It is also home to Wakefield’s art collection – an impressive compendium of modern British and contemporary art – and has dedicated galleries exploring Hepworth’s art and working process. Hepworthwakefield.org

Leeds Art Gallery
Leeds Art Gallery offers dynamic temporary exhibitions and a world-class collection of modern British art. Founded in 1888, the gallery has designated collections of 19th and 20th century British painting and sculpture widely considered to be the best outside the national collections. The collection represents the work of early 20th century artists such as Walter Sickert and Stanley Spencer, with the development of English modernism shown through key works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Paul Nash, Jacob Epstein and Francis Bacon. Leeds Art Gallery has a longstanding relationship with the Henry Moore Institute, who oversee the administration and curatorial development of the Leeds Museums and Galleries sculpture collection. This partnership has built one of the strongest collections of British sculpture in the country and confirmed Leeds’s status as an international centre for the study and appreciation of sculpture. The Leeds Sculpture Collection comprises over 1,000 objects, 400 works on paper and the Henry Moore Institute Archive of over 270 collections of papers relating to sculptors. The collections are principally British from c.1875 to the present day. leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/leedsartgallery

Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is the leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017. An independent charitable trust and registered museum (number 1067908) situated in the 500-acre, 18th-century Bretton Hall estate in West Yorkshire. Founded in 1977 by Executive Director Peter Murray, YSP was the first sculpture park in the UK, and is the largest of its kind in Europe, providing the only place in Europe to see Barbara Hepworth’s The Family of Man in its entirety alongside a significant collection of sculpture, including bronzes by Henry Moore, and site-specific works by Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash and James Turrell. YSP was named Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2014. ysp.org.uk

Arts Council England
Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. artscouncil.org.uk

High Res Image Downloads


Phyllida Barlow with her installation Scree Stage for The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture 2016. Image courtesy of Press Association

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Phyllida Barlow, Untitled:triplestackboulders, 2014. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth, the artist and YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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‘The Sculpture Collections’ visitors © Sarah Mann

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