About David Murphy: Blanket at The Piece Hall

YSP partnered with The Piece Hall in Halifax to present their first visual arts commission in the iconic courtyard of the former cloth hall. David Murphy was selected from over 40 submissions to create a bold and confident response to the building’s history as a global centre for textiles.

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1983, David Murphy is a sculptor who approaches his work with an instinctive sensitivity for the innate qualities and characteristics of materials.

Responding to the primary function of the Piece Hall as a renowned centre for trading cloth, and building upon the ‘textile language’ that had been central to the artist’s own practice in recent years, Murphy developed the motif of the ‘magnified thread’. Closely related to his previous sculptural works, where steel wires were bent and woven through rings to form rigid tubes, Blanket wasa new work that was centrally located in the courtyard to present a focal point and act as a meeting place. 

Murphy described his sculptures like drawings in space, flattened by perspective. The artist’s play between line and volume, space and lightness, was central to the new sculpture. Nearly 15 meters long, the work was suggestive of a magnified textile weave - a warp and weft of merged lines. The work aimed to redefine the courtyard as a space to pause and linger, very different to the hectic life that could have been imagined on a busy trading day back in 1779, when the hall first opened.

The Piece Hall in Halifax was one of the most iconic heritage buildings in Britain. Following a multi-million-pound transformation in 2017, the hall was reimagined as a new cultural and leisure destination.

The Piece Hall’s Sculpture Season Launch was celebrated on the 25 January, and on the 14 March, the artist was invited to discuss his practice, influences and the development of The Blanket, introduced by YSP’s Deputy Curator, Damon Jackson-Waldock.