There has long been an intimate and complex relationship between sculpture and architecture, with many artists operating at and around this boundary. Now you can explore what we know and understand about this field at a new exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Featuring artists including Martin Creed, Anya Gallaccio and Cornelia Parker, [Re]construct takes a closer look at the ways in which artists have incorporated architecture into their work using a process of deconstruction and reconstruction in order to interrogate and manipulate its forms.
Several of the works question our ideas about the materiality and permanence of the built environment, with bricks made of wax, wall plugs crafted from onyx, reassembled ruined structures, and bodies painted to look like stone. Other objects insinuate themselves into the very fabric of the building, their presence subtly altering the architectural status quo.
Taking place in the Park's 18th century chapel, at the nave of the building will be Cornelia Parker’s Neither From Nor Towards – one of the artist’s iconic suspended works and comprises weathered bricks from a row of houses destroyed when they slipped into the sea on the south-east coast following the erosion of the cliffs.
Further shaped by the aggressive action of the waves, the bricks have been reassembled so when seen from above they form the simplified box house shape of children’s drawings, complete with pitched roof. Hinting at the previous life of the material, the work exists held in silent stasis, a resurrection or ghost of its former self.
Alex Chinneck also examines the idea of transient architecture through the use of wax bricks, replacing a long-lasting material with an entirely malleable one that changes state even with the heat of touch. Emphasising its unsuitability for construction, a circle at the centre of the wall has been melted, resulting in cascades of wax. Like Parker’s brick house, this sculpture captures a moment frozen in time. The title A Hole in a Bag of Nerves further adds to the presence of a human hand in this work, drawing attention to metaphysical rather than physical qualities.
Susan Collis’s Untitled (Rawl Plugs) confounds expectation, masquerading as everyday wall fixings that appear to have been abandoned, possibly after a picture or shelf has been removed. The work is actually carefully crafted in semi-precious stone. In drawing attention to the smallest details of our surroundings, Collis invites us to consider the hierarchy of materials and encourages us to look at and analyse our environment with greater care.
Work No.135 by Martin Creed, is a protrusion that grows from and becomes part of the wall itself, finished in the same material and painted white so that it appears simultaneously at home and incongruous. Like an organic growth, it interrupts our preconceptions and suggests an animate life within the inanimate structure of the building.
[Re]construct takes place at Yorkshire Sculpture Park until 25 June 2017. Re]construct is a National Partners Programme exhibition, and works have been selected largely from the Arts Council Collection by YSP.
Main image: Cornelia Parker Neither From Nor Towards, 1992. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist