Press Story

8 September – 6 October 2021
Bothy Gallery and Open Air

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is delighted to present WONDERCHAOS, an exhibition by internationally acclaimed visual artist Kate Daudy and Nobel prize winning physicist, Kostya Novoselov.

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked unimaginable chaos, raising fundamental questions about how we live our lives and how best to build the future. In presenting the art and science exhibition, WONDERCHAOS, Daudy and Novoselov invite us to celebrate our individual agency within the unfolding events of the world and embrace the present of our daily existence. Their show invites people of all ages to notice and celebrate the disarray and harmony of daily life and suggests that chaos can sometimes lead to positive change and new ideas.

Together, Daudy and Novoselov pursue an enquiry into chaos, exploring the many circumstances in which chaos reigns and the unexpected, yet inevitable, order that is often born from it. They show how it is the nature of mankind to assign meaning and narrative to the world and create stories to explain the seemingly inexplicable. Chaos can be experienced both individually and universally, something which Daudy and Novoselov encourage us to reflect upon throughout the exhibition. The unfolding of the universe leads us cyclically through chaos to harmony.

WONDERCHAOS presents truths and beliefs held by entire societies that rest upon chaos, such as the Big Bang theory and ancient creation myths. By combining their specialisms, Daudy and Novoselov offer a collection of multi-sensory works that address chaos and its ubiquity in all aspects of life and nature including chaos in relation to art, science, philosophy, harmony, environmental change, language and time.

Many of the works in WONDERCHAOS are site specific to Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Roaming throughout the country park, a flock of sheep have each been painted with an individual number; the fleeting moments at which the sheep group in any formation illustrates random number theory. The work is called ALTERNATIVE RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR: THE SHEEP OF MR. CHARLES PLATTS.

One of YSP’s trees forms the foundation of the sound and movement piece ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS STAY, made in collaboration with maker Corin Mellor of David Mellor Design, based in Hathersage, Derbyshire. The repeated but unsystematic tinkling of its chimes calls to mind Pliny’s hypothesis that the constant rotation and movement of the air, the earth and the planets in different directions emits a ‘sweet harmonious music’, as well as the celebrated verses from the Bible’s Corinthians I, that remind us of an ancient definition of chaos: ‘If I have not love, I am a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. If I have not love, I gain nothing’.

Among the works exhibited indoors are crochet wall hangings demonstrating the chaotic numbers Pi and Euler, resulting in one harmonious whole number – harmony underlying chaos. This work has been specially commissioned from women in Homs and Aleppo, Syria; an example of how beauty can be created in chaotic circumstances. An installation prints reels of endless questions and numbers issued by The National Institute of Standards and Technology, USA.

A film and sound piece by Daudy feature cellist Steven Isserlis and Joanna Bergin performing an adaptation of John Tavener’s great piece The Lamb to a flock of numbered sheep. The work is entitled IF YOU WANT TO HEAR SOME MUSIC, OPEN THE WINDOW: HOMAGE TO JOHN CAGE. Daudy is also presenting her first large-scale outdoor steel sculpture, PORTAL, which has been made at YSP. The sculpture explores the significance of language as a tool of communication with other cultures and perspectives, suggesting that dialogue can provide a doorway to alternative worlds. The pair have also produced a conceptual map of YSP entitled THE CERTAINTY OF CHANCE.

The show is accompanied by the eight-part podcast WONDERCHAOS, available to listen to on YSP’s profile on the Bloomberg Connects app, and on Apple podcasts.

Kate Daudy is a British artist working in sculpture, installation, textiles and words. She is recognised for her work exploring and re-evaluating the human experience in the context of the natural world. She is interested in using visual art as a means of bringing about discourse that can contribute toward social and political change. Daudy’s work frequently references ancient societies’ culture, beliefs and languages; her written interventions stem from her studies of Ancient Chinese literati practice and, more recently, her art has been influenced by Ancient Egyptian thought and ideas surrounding the cycle of life.

With a history of collaborating with artists, Russian physicist Kostya Novoselov has been working with Daudy for the past three years, including on their ongoing project Everything is Connected. Novoselov was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for his work with Professor Andre Geim in discovering graphene, the strongest and thinnest material in existence.