Press Story

Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) announces its 2023 programme, featuring the first major UK museum exhibition by one of Austria’s most prominent artists Erwin Wurm, and solo exhibitions of new work by UK artists Lindsey Mendick and Jonathan Baldock.

YSP’s 2023 programme highlights material, process and play. The exhibitions give intriguing entry points for experimentation with sculpture, touch, and the physical processes of making that connect the body to materials. These themes will be reflected in the public and learning programmes, underpinning the fundamental relationships between people and sculpture.

Leonardo Drew has been commissioned to create a towering sculpture for the 18th-century Chapel. Made on site, it will present a powerful statement about the weight of collective experience, memory, and the cycles of life and death. Five metres high, it is made from shards of painted and violently torn materials, appearing like an explosion held in time within this contemplative space.

In April, an immersive exhibition by Lindsey Mendick in The Weston Gallery draws on physical and psychological excavation, as well as reflecting on shared experiences of TV and popular culture. Mendick primarily works with clay to create intricate ceramic works, with her elaborate mixed-media installations also including film, stained glass, textile and performance.

From June, Erwin Wurm’s absurd and seemingly playful sculptures are displayed in the Underground Gallery and adjacent garden. Wurm disrupts our understanding of the familiar and sensible, using and reimagining everyday materials and objects across a practice that spans sculpture, performance and photographic documentation.

Jonathan Baldock presents new sculpture in The Weston Gallery from September. Mining his working-class roots and queer identity, Baldock playfully addresses the trauma, stress, sensuality, mortality, and spirituality around our relationship to the body. His compelling installations, often using ceramic and clay, bring the viewer, the objects, and the spaces they inhabit together in a form of ritual or theatre that enlivens all the senses.

Opened in November 2022, Lakwena Maciver’s exhibition A green and pleasant land (HA-HA), runs through to March 2023 in The Weston Gallery. Lakwena uses her characteristic combination of vibrant colour and text to explore ideas around public speech and public space, using the ha-has in YSP’s landscape as a metaphor for markers of division and control within contemporary society.

Relics in the Landscape, an exhibition of bronze sculptures by the North American artist Daniel Arsham – including ET’s bicycle, Venus, Pikachu and Melpomene – continues to draw crowds to the 18th-century Formal Garden. This is Arsham’s first museum show in the UK.

Robert Indiana’s major exhibition of sculpture, painting and prints in the Underground Gallery and outdoors is on view until 16 April 2023. Tracing six decades of the influential artist’s career, the exhibition explores Indiana’s complex character and the darker side of the American Dream. A major new publication with in-situ photography accompanies the exhibition.

YSP continues supporting artistic development with its residency programme, which hosts an impressive line-up of contemporary artists including the 2022 Yorkshire Graduate Award winner Ami Horrocks. Following her 2022 residency, the New Zealand artist Deborah Rundle returns to YSP with a project exploring local histories of activism.

Championing the best in contemporary craft, design and making, YSP Shops present a programme of exhibitions in 2023, featuring ceramicist Florian Gadsby, whose work sells out in moments when released on Instagram; painter Simon Palmer; woodworkers Takahashi McGil; and printmaker Emma Lawrenson. Works presented in this programme are for sale at YSP and online and all proceeds support YSP’s charitable work.

Engaging participants of all ages, YSP’s diverse learning programme in 2023 is focused on play, the exploration of materials, and experimentation with making. Continuing YSP’s legacy of work engaging local communities, educational groups and informal learning groups, a programme of year-round activities will support people to fulfil their potential through YSP’s unique environment, as well as foster wellbeing and connection to the natural world.

Daniel Arsham: Relics in the Landscape
Formal Garden
From 1 October 2022

The first UK museum display of work by the highly acclaimed North-American artist Daniel Arsham. Six of Arsham’s bronze sculptures sited in the 18th-century Formal Garden including Bronze Extraterrestrial Bicycle (2022), Bronze Eroded Bunny (Large) (2022), and the three-metre-tall Bronze Eroded Venus of Arles (Large) (2022) – Arsham’s retelling of the ancient marble statue of Aphrodite from the 1st century BCE.

Arsham’s sculptures appear as archaeological remnants of our time that he describes as ‘future relics’. The artist was given access to the original foundry moulds of some of France’s most iconic classical sculptures displayed in the Louvre, including a 3.9-metre-tall female figure that was carved around 50 BCE. The statue was unearthed in the 15th-century and for the last 500 years she has been named as Melpomene, the Greek muse of tragedy. From the mould of this sculpture Arsham created the much-enlarged Unearthed Bronze Eroded Melpomene (2021), which in YSP’s Arcadian landscape connects the past with the present and considers what is original, authentic or replica. The grounds of YSP have been inhabited for at least one thousand years, and in this context Arsham’s sculptures resonate with the layers of human activity that have shaped and will continue to shape this unique place.

Daniel Arsham: Relics in the Landscape is made possible by support from Perrotin.

Lakwena Maciver: A green and pleasant land (HA-HA)
The Weston Gallery
12 November 2022 – 19 March 2023

Lakwena’s vibrant new body of work takes inspiration from YSP’s grounds and particularly its ha-has. These are concealed, walled ditches that were common in 18th-century landscaped gardens, designed as barriers for livestock and to preserve uninterrupted views for the landowners. At the time they were built, parliamentary Enclosure Acts devastated lives by reconfiguring land boundaries in England and Wales. They removed commoners’ rights of use to graze their animals, placed open land in private ownership, and divided it with partitions. Lakwena uses these historic ideas about lines of division to comment on today’s society.

The idea of a longing for Paradise often features in Lakwena’s practice. In developing her ideas, the artist began by thinking of YSP as an Eden-like setting. Yet the presence and significance of the ha-has acted as a sinister metaphor for the ways in which she sees public space and public speech as increasingly tightly controlled by a privileged elite.

Lakwena’s vivid, painted canvases resemble protest banners and carry forceful, instructional messages. However, rather than blindly obeying these commands, she encourages us to question them, to interrogate what we are told, and to form our own opinions. The gallery is enveloped in a soundtrack of laughter: playing with the ambiguity of the word ha-ha, we are provoked to consider what is being laughed at and whether we are laughing along. This idea is amplified by a wall filled with vivid paintings endlessly proclaiming HA-HA.

Two fabric sculptures in the form of gigantic COVID face masks are displayed in the gallery and in one of YSP’s ha-has. They resemble repurposed banners and reframe the mask as a political statement worn on the face. As they cover our mouths, masks may also be interpreted as potent symbols of the suppression of free speech. In contrast to this, the artist emphasises the need for all voices to be heard.

Lakwena Maciver: A green and pleasant land (HA-HA) is made possible by support from Vigo Gallery.

Leonardo Drew
18 March – 29 October 2023

Leonardo Drew lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His abstract works are made from a profusion of individual elements to make forceful, dynamic installations that extend into space with great energy, exploring the tension between order and chaos.

Drew’s new work for YSP’s 18th-century Chapel is a powerful reflection on the weight of collective experience, memory, and the cycles of life and death, decay and regeneration. This resonates within a historic building that is a site where lives have been played out for centuries. The central material is plywood – either blackened or covered with coloured and textured paint – which is ripped apart and shattered to create the building blocks for a monolith that rises to over five metres in height – like an explosion held in time. Drew’s fractured surfaces create their own language, embodying the laboured process of writing the artist’s and people’s experience into history. Resisting an overlay of explicit meaning, he chooses to title his pieces only with numbers in order “to give the viewer enough room to find themselves in the work”.

An African-American artist born in Tallahassee in 1961 and raised in housing projects in Connecticut, Drew has often alluded to socio-political issues in his work, using such symbolically charged materials as cotton, rope, rags and rust that relate to the antebellum South, the African-American experience, and America’s industrial past, as well as the natural world. As a child Drew lived near the city dump and he has described it as his playground and treasure trove, collecting discarded objects from the rubbish, making things from them and finding creativity amidst adversity. This experience had a huge impact, and there is an overwhelming sense of accumulation about his practice, of avid collecting and building. His work abounds with a compelling combination of precision and intense, unfettered energy.

Leonardo Drew is made possible by support from Galerie Lelong & Co., Goodman Gallery, Sakana Foundation, and the Leonardo Drew Supporters Circle.

Erwin Wurm: Trap of the Truth
Underground Gallery and Bothy Garden
10 June 2023 – 28 April 2024

At some point I came to realise that everything surrounding me can be material for an artistic work, absolutely everything. To begin with, because I had no money and worked relatively quickly, I used scraps of wood and cans. Then I used old clothing, which did not cost anything, before ultimately realising that I could actually use anything around me. That was the decisive step, as then anything was possible.” – Erwin Wurm

This major exhibition is Erwin Wurm’s first museum show in the UK and presents sculpture, painting, photographs, video and drawings. Including a number of large sculptures made especially for YSP, Wurm challenges perceptions of the everyday, continuing his exploration of the sensible, the disruption of the body and familiar materials, and the animation of the inanimate. One of Austria’s most prominent artists, Wurm (b.1954) rose to fame in the 1990s with his One Minute Sculptures, an ongoing series of works that combines performance and everyday objects to capture a moment in time when a participant activates the work.

Outdoors, new sculptures from the Skins and Avatar series reflect the artist’s interest in fashion as a representation of a particular time, and the psychological suggestion of clothing becoming the wearer’s second skin. Giants, sculptures from the Abstract series (2014-18), render anthropomorphised sausage forms in bronze and reference the wiener, or hot dog, that takes its name from Austria’s capital, Vienna. Wurm interprets many popular food items in his sculpture. Perhaps the most iconic of these is the gherkin, or pickled cucumber, with which he has a longstanding fascination, represented by the four-metre-high bronze Der Gurk (2016).

In the Underground Gallery works include the marble bread, croissants and sausages from the Icons (2021) series; large oil on canvas graphic and brightly coloured paintings titled Flat Sculptures (2021-22); and small-scale concrete houses and cars melded with commonplace objects from the 2022 Concrete series. Wurm’s One Minute Sculptures connect performance with impermanence – they are only complete when activated by a participant and are only ‘known’ when documented as a photograph. Questioning social norms, Ship of Fools (2017) is an adapted caravan with which visitors are invited to interact by putting their heads, hands, bottoms or feet through apertures – shown alongside photographs, videos and instructional drawings.

The exhibition springboards a programme of engagement activity centred around play, the exploration of materials in relation to the body and everyday objects, and experimentation of making processes. An illustrated guide to the exhibition and a catalogue featuring in-situ photography will accompany the exhibition.

Erwin Wurm: Trap of the Truth is made possible by support from Thaddaeus Ropac and Lehmann Maupin.

Lindsey Mendick: Where The Bodies Are Buried
The Weston Gallery
6 April – 3 September 2023

Having graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 2012, Lindsey Mendick returns to Yorkshire with a solo show in The Weston Gallery. At YSP she will create an immersive installation that excavates her own memories, the history and myths of the Bretton Estate, and television and cultural experiences from the 1980s to the early 2000s.

Mendick works predominantly with clay, a material that has historically been associated with decoration and the domestic sphere. Subverting these connotations, she creates intricate works that celebrate popular culture and explore contemporary feminine experience. These elaborate installations draw on the artist’s own stories, memories and dreams and the results are humorous, grotesque and beautiful in equal measure.

Since gaining her MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art in 2017, Mendick has established a highly successful practice and career. Her work has been shown in solo and two-person exhibitions at Carl Freedman Gallery, Margate; Somerset House, London; Goldsmiths CCA, London; and Eastside Projects, Birmingham. Her work is included in the major exhibition, Strange Clay: Ceramics in Contemporary Art at the Hayward Gallery, London. With her partner, the artist Guy Oliver, Mendick initiated Quench Gallery in Margate to provide vital support for early career artists through exhibitions and mentoring.

Deborah Rundle
YSP Centre
From July 2023

An installation by New Zealand artist Deborah Rundle explores local histories of activism in West Yorkshire, reflecting on the current conditions of work. Rundle’s practice focuses on language as a means to explore power relations, and to consider possibilities for change and transformation. She has a particular interest in the machinations of late capitalism.

Rundle spent four weeks as artist in residence at YSP in autumn 2022. During this time, she researched the 1875 Heavy Woollen Weavers’ Strike in Dewsbury and Batley, West Yorkshire. Rundle focused on activist Ann Ellis, one member of the all-women committee of workers who led the strike. Rundle visited archives and libraries to find records of the strike and explored the wider industrial history of Yorkshire. Her work links actions from the past to contemporary issues around the value of labour and working conditions.

This artist award is in partnership with Te Tuhi, a leading contemporary art gallery in New Zealand Aotearoa. The project has been generously supported by philanthropists Sigrid and Stephen Kirk.

Jonathan Baldock
The Weston Gallery
23 September 2023 – 14 April 2024

Jonathan Baldock is a British artist who works across sculpture, installation and performance. His work is saturated with humour and wit, as well as an uncanny, macabre quality that channels his longstanding interest in myth and folklore. These fabled worlds intersect with an exploration of the possibilities for alternative queer realities and histories. Baldock often uses biographical forms – such as casts of his face, feet or hands – to consider our relationship to the body and the space it inhabits, addressing related themes of stress, trauma, sensuality and mortality. For YSP, he will create new work that takes inspiration directly from the site, and rural crafts and industries entwined with it, as well as from his own working-class roots and connections to farming.

Baldock exploits the material contrasts between ceramic and textile, often disrupting and removing the functional qualities of these media. Elements of theatre and ritual are woven throughout his immersive installations. Baldock has used sewing, wool spinning, plant dyeing and basket weaving techniques in his work to date. Departing from ancient craft traditions, these methods weave Baldock’s personal stories into a poignant investigation of material and memory.

Ami Horrocks
Yorkshire Graduate Award
Artist residency 2022-23

I make iconic symbols of women in the landscape, I have a ritualistic practice, and am interested in the political and psychological ramifications of symbols on the feminist movement.” – Ami Horrocks

Ami Horrocks is the recipient of the Yorkshire Graduate Award 2022 and will continue her residency at YSP through to April 2023. Horrocks’ practice explores landscape through the female lens, lost female histories and goddess theory, drawing inspiration from her own experiences of motherhood. She explores principles of care in relation to the environment and landscape, considering the gestures and traces we make on the land. Recently, she has been investigating the origin story of Circe the witch, her pharmaka, later medieval herb witches, contemporary ecofeminism and emergent queer ecologies.

YSP Learning Programme

The 2023 YSP Learning Programme delivers fascinating hands-on workshops, sessions and events for all ages and abilities. It explores connection to the natural world, relationships that shape us and connect us to one another, and ways we can express our creativity through drawing, experimenting and making.

YSP’s longstanding formal learning programme provides exceptional access to activities and opportunities for learning in a unique environment which cannot be replicated in the classroom. Schools, colleges and universities will bring students to explore world-class sculpture outdoors year-round, participating in artist-led workshops that examine art and landscape, identity, materials and abstraction. Playful school sessions will explore the work of Erwin Wurm and relationships between sculpture and performance. Educators can enjoy hands on, process-led Continuing Professional Development sessions throughout the year including the well-loved Teacher Study Day in collaboration with Arts Council Collection.

YSP welcomes intergenerational audiences to engage with a seasonal events programme, providing a year-round offer for families and adult learners to create shared memories, build skills, discover their own creativity and find solace through grounding in nature. For the youngest visitors there are free playful activities to pick up and take around the galleries keeping minds curious and active. Throughout the year there are sensory Sculpture Baby sessions, art explorations in Tales from the Gallery and Sculpture Adventures in the magical Hidden Forest. The programme for adults is inspired by the natural world, place and sculpture. YSP encourages adults to be curious and connect to themselves, nature and inspiring sculpture through drawing and making workshops. The team supports diverse community groups to collaborate with artists in bespoke sessions throughout the year, providing opportunities and space to have respite, connection and time together.

YSP Shops Exhibition Programme

Simon Palmer: Observation of Landscape
YSP Centre
4 March – 11 June 2023

One of Britain’s leading watercolour artists, Simon Palmer’s distinctive works draw inspiration from and celebrates the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales around Wensleydale where he has lived and worked for the last 40 years. Palmer paints for the sheer joy of capturing shapes, patterns, sunlight and shadow, and his deep links to a specific place align him to a British landscape tradition that includes artists such as Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland and Eric Ravilious. Palmer walks close to his home every day, filling sketchbooks with rapid pen and ink drawings. Narrow lanes, railway bridges, drystone walls, farms, ancient trees, woodland and the moors; each scene is a starting point for his paintings, which use a subtle colour palette to capture every season.

This exhibition in the YSP Centre presents a collection of Palmer’s more recent limited edition giclee prints, which have been created from his much sought-after watercolour, ink and gouache paintings. Depicting quintessentially English scenes, reminiscent of wartime paintings from the 1940s, each work is printed onto Hahnemuhle Matt Fine Art Textured Albrecht Durer 210 gsm paper in an edition of 100.

Palmer’s paintings have been exhibited worldwide, and his works are in many public collections including The National Trust, and the Penn Club, London as well as private collections in the UK, USA, Australia and Japan. He was awarded an honorary membership to the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour in 2007.

Observation of Landscape is supported by Portland Gallery.

Takahashi McGil and Emma Lawrenson: Balance and Form
23 June – 22 October 2023
YSP Centre

Balance and Form brings together the complementary practices of exquisite woodworkers Takahashi McGil and the intuitive printmaking of Emma Lawrenson.

Working from their studio in Cockington, Devon, husband and wife team Kaori Takahashi and Mark McGilvray work collaboratively on the creation of decorative vessels and functional homeware, formed from locally sourced sustainable hardwoods. Combining ancient Japanese traditions honed in Tokyo with Western techniques and hand tools, the pair work together to plane, chisel, turn, wax and lacquer the pieces. McGilvray works on the shape and form while Takahashi carves the surface, always celebrating the imperfections inherent in the materials used. Urushi laquering – a Japanese technique where several layers of lacquer are applied within a warm and humid wooden chamber – is often used to heighten the character and depth of a piece.

Members of Make Southwest, Takahashi McGil was formed after McGilvray and Takahashi graduated from Wimbledon School of Art, having studied sculpture and fine art respectively.

Emma Lawrenson explores the formal processes and techniques involved in screen printing, with particular emphasis on hand-drawn details combined with interactions of subtle colour. Minimal, abstract and understated in style, she takes inspiration from the rural Yorkshire landscape as well as artists such as Agnes Martin and the American Colour Field painters. With a carefully considered approach to form and space, Lawrenson creates a thoughtful and harmonious balance of colour, tone and shape. Her recent works are weighted towards a hand drawn element, using scraping and scratching to produce different textural surfaces within each print and sometimes working into them with white conte crayon or pencil. Each piece of work is hand printed, meticulously layered and built up the little by little; a labour-intensive process that is testament to the artist’s sincerity and craftsmanship.

Lawrenson has an MA in printmaking from Royal College of Art. Her work has been exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer multiple times and she has exhibited across the UK and Europe. Her work is held in collections internationally and she has been commissioned by organisations including Faber & Faber, Netflix, and NBC Universal.

Florian Gadsby: By My Hands
YSP Centre
4 November 2023 – 25 February 2024

World-renowned ceramicist Florian Gadsby presents new works in this solo exhibition, By My Hands. Gadsby works from his studio in North London, where he uses iron-rich stoneware clay to produce his precision wheel-thrown tableware and one-off decorative sculptural vessels using traditional tools, techniques and processes.

Gadsby’s elegant aesthetic is inspired by pared-back forms and items of everyday use that are simple and straight-sided, and that he could imagine living with and using. His glazes are subtly detailed, full of depth and commonly glass-like in nature with crackled, iron-flecked surfaces and containing varying percentages of red iron oxide to change their colours from white to blue or green. Gadsby’s palette also embraces whites, blacks and metallics from bronzes to gun-metal.

With more than three million followers across platforms, social media is an important aspect of Gadsby’s wider practice. He creates videos that go into extraordinary depth about the processes involved in making his pots, enabling people to follow his journey from an apprentice to a potter in his own studio. Gadsby hopes his display at YSP will inspire people to create, strive to make better pots and to embrace the craft which he loves and to do something with their hands.

Born in Norfolk in 1992, Gadsby was educated at a Rudolf Steiner School, gaining expert tuition from pottery teacher Caroline Hughes and later taking a work placement at Leach Pottery, St. Ives, assisting Jack Doherty. He later became a studio apprentice for Lisa Hammond at Maze Hill Pottery. Whilst there he was introduced to Japanese master potter, Ken Matsuzaki who he later became a visiting apprentice to in Mashiko, Japan. Gadsby learnt how to use the traditional Japanese kick-wheel to make his established shapes, alongside how to glaze in both the oribe and shino style and how to fire them. Gadsby set up his London studio in 2018.

Press enquiries

Elise Hammond, Sutton: +44 (0)20 7183 3577 /

Gemma Donovan, Communications Officer, YSP / +44 (0)1924 832 515 /

Listings information

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield WF4 4LG

Near Wakefield and Barnsley – M1 Junction 38

+44 (0)1924 832631 | | @YSPsculpture

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