Press Story

YSP is delighted to reveal a new 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 ancient 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.

Andy Goldsworthy, artist, commented:

“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, wellworn 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.”

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 the functioning Sheep 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.

About Andy Goldsworthy OBE

Andy Goldsworthy OBE (b. 1956, Cheshire, England) lives in Scotland. He makes works of art using the materials and conditions that he encounters wherever he is. Using earth, rocks, leaves, ice, snow, rain, or sunlight, the resulting artworks exist briefly before they are altered and erased by natural processes. He also uses his own body as a medium, as with his Rain Shadows, or through actions such as spitting, throwing, climbing and walking. He has undertaken commissions in the Queensland rainforest, Australia and the New Zealand coast; in Rio de Janeiro, New York City, St Louis, Montreal and San Francisco; in the New Mexico desert, the mountains of central Spain and Haute-Provence, France, and on the moors of North Yorkshire and the fells of Cumbria and Dumfriesshire in the UK. He has exhibited in the British Museum (1994); the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2004); Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (2007); and the Palacio di Cristal, Madrid (2007). In 2020, Red Flags, his commission for Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center, was installed in New York throughout September. He contributes widely to group exhibitions and his most recent solo gallery shows have been in New York (2015), Madrid (2016) and San Francisco (2017), Lund (2017-2018). Recent and current major projects include Walking Wall (2019) at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, US and Hanging Stones (2015-ongoing) in the North York Moors, UK. Goldsworthy has published many books throughout his career, most recently Ephemeral Works 2004-2014 (2016) and Projects (2017) with Abrams. He is the subject of two feature-length documentaries by Thomas Riedelsheimer: Rivers and Tides (2003) and Leaning into the Wind (2017).

About Sir Peter Murray CBE

Sir Peter Murray CBE established YSP in 1977 with a grant of £1000 and no staff, which has evolved into a major international centre for sculpture; a cultural beacon for Yorkshire, attracting artists and visitors from all over the world. Peter has taught in General, Further and Higher Education and in 1977, when he was Principal Lecturer in Art Education at Bretton Hall College, he started YSP in the grounds of the college which at that time were not open to the public. There were many obstacles to overcome, not least the lack of funding and staffing. Over time through tenacity, political acumen, total commitment, and the support of others, YSP emerged as an important cultural venue contributing significantly to the economy. Learning has been fundamental to the organisation, along with the development, understanding and enjoyment of sculpture in this country and beyond.

Support for artists at every stage of their careers has remained at the heart of Peter Murray’s vision and he has forged many longstanding and meaningful relationships with artists, including Magdalena Abakanowicz, Anthony Caro, Tony Cragg, Elisabeth Frink, Barbara Hepworth, Phillip King, Henry Moore, David Nash, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Andy Goldsworthy and many more. A continued respect for, and commitment to, the legacies of Wakefield’s most well-known twentieth century sculptors – Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore – is evident; Moore chose the old Deer Park as a perfect place to site his monumental bronzes, some of which can be seen there today. This commitment to artists and to making art accessible to everyone has continued through the decades and was acknowledged when YSP was named Museum of the Year in 2014.

As well as establishing strong personal relationships with artists and attracting major international artists to Yorkshire, Peter has established a team of talented staff and perceptive Trustees who, under his leadership, have invested in many capital and building projects, further opening up the estate. Together they have been responsible for the design and construction of several award-winning buildings – interventions which were relatively simple and classical – ‘a pencil line in the landscape’ – including visitor centres, a building dedicated to learning, and six superb indoor galleries. A major achievement was reuniting the designed landscape of the Bretton Estate, providing public access to art and nature.