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Idit Nathan and Helen Stratford: Further Afield

Open Air and Upper Lake

Play is democratic, free, unpredictable, non-hierarchical, in fact it is a sublime common denominator. We all played, at least once upon a time and it is easy to re-learn, re-call, re-member play. Play can also be ambiguous for you never quite know what it might mean and where it might lead.

Further Afield is a series of sculptures sited around the Upper Lake for visitors to encounter and respond to. Each work is made from wooden railway sleepers, with words engraved on the surface. Certain words have been highlighted by the artists using brightly coloured paint. Over time, the wood will age and become embedded in the landscape of the Park. The instructions on the sculptures invite us to play, think, interact, and use our senses to experience our surroundings in new ways.

Idit Nathan and Helen Stratford have been working together since 2012 on socially engaged projects, combining their backgrounds in theatre and architecture. Their work is often made in response to specific sites, and in collaboration with other individuals and groups. The artists are interested in how play and walking can create and enhance engagement with contemporary issues and the environments we inhabit.

Further Afield was created following two residencies at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2017 and 2018. During this time, the artists devised walking and playing events called ‘walkshops’, which invited participants to respond to the landscape and artworks at YSP. In these ‘walkshops’ the artists used cards and dice, adapted existing games, and invented new ones. Together with visitors they talked about memories of playing. The artists were also inspired by arts educator Don Pavey, whose work is part of National Arts Education Archive, housed on site. These conversations, games and walks informed the creation of the sculpture trail.