patternsthatconnect

abstract art, a systems view

Posts Tagged ‘sculpture

Hepworth Wakefield!

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We had just under an hour to visit the Hepworth,

on Bank Holiday Monday…not enough time, especially as there was no parking (today only, I understand – though the parking at the site does look limited) and finding our way to the park & ride (good idea, but only provided for the first two weekends) delayed us further. We got the last bus of the day.

last bus

Park & Ride

Hepworth Wakefield

A magnificent building, I liked the outside, but the inside wow! A great space, in which the sculpture looked just right. In his blog, Tim Garratt says it’s “16000  square feet making it the largest exhibition space outside London”. I found that difficult to believe. It didn’t feel big. Perhaps that’s because each gallery made such good use of the space, it was uncluttered. Hence, viewing the work was a delight.

I was surprised by how many paintings were on view, and I particularly enjoyed the gallery exploring the context in which Hepworth worked. The Piet Mondrian painting was striking, as were the Ben Nicholsons, looking particularly good in this space. Two paintings that surprised me by their brilliance were Quarante Huit Quai d’Auteil by Winifred Nicholson and Forms on a White Ground by John Piper. I hate John Pipers architecture in landscape semi-abstract things, but this one really got me. He was a much better abstractionist than I had realised. The little paintings in this show had a monumentality way beyond their actual size – and whilst I know that’s such a cliché, it is how I experienced them. They absolutely deserve a second, third and fourth look.

In the Garden (misty wet with rain) there’s Heather and Ivan Morison’s The Black Cloud

black cloud

Black Cloud with photographers

I am yours

I am yours and Black Cloud

It is a magnificent space and I will be returning very soon.

hepworth purchase

No method, no guru, no catalogue, I hurriedly scribbled down the details of the paintings that had interested me the most

(Van Morrison fans will have noticed that the mention of Heather and Ivan got me remembering lines from In the Garden)

art signs

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I have written before about signs and art.

This sign is art

Arcadia

Leo Fitzmaurice, Arcadia (one of a series scattered around YSP)

whereas this sign is not

Just because it is at Yorkshire Sculpture Park does not mean it is art

The function of the Leo Fitzmaurice sign is different to the function of the caution sign. However this could simply be that they are differing kinds of sign. One is a label and the other is a warning.

Though Arcadia is a label sign, the thing (or place) labelled is absent, bringing our attention to its absence. It reminds us that the map is not the territory, the name is not the thing named (Korzybski).

The Arcadia sign refers to a past, almost forgotten, inaccessible reality (or myth) and elicits action which is more like not-acting: the act of reflecting. For me, that makes it different to other label signs.

In one way the caution sign is similar, it requires a ‘slowing down’ a reflectiveness of sorts. Though its hardly a reflection on signs and their relationship to our experience, or on art and life. If the caution sign were to elicit this kind of reflectiveness it would have failed to do its job, we would no longer be proceeding with caution.

Here’s another sign from YSP (again not art)

Warning sign alerting us to read signs!

Warning sign alerting us to read signs!

It is a sign about signs! (You might need to click on the image to get the smaller print.)

It reminds me of an episode of the Simpsons where Homer gets obsessed with putting up safety signs and eventually resorts to putting up signs exhorting us to take note of the signs.

Written by Andy Parkinson

May 10, 2011 at 7:11 am

the art of non-verbal communication

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The sign says

"Please do not climb on the Sol LeWitt"

yet the art work says

"Please climb on me"

The meaning of the communication is the response it elicits, not necessarily the intention of the communicator.

  

  

My guess is that  Sol LeWitt knew that one of the meanings of this piece would become  “climb on me”, maybe it is the message of all public sculptures ( some more than others).

The sign not to climb, the verbal communication, is incongruent with the non-verbal communication, the sign that is the art work itself. Possibly, that’s why people ignore it, or notice it after they have already transgressed! I suppose it’s a lot like “do not walk on the grass”.

Written by Andy Parkinson

May 3, 2011 at 8:17 am

sheep love sculpture

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At YSP the other day (see yesterday’s blog), I was amazed at how much the sheep seemed to appreciate this Barbara Hepworth (or is it by Henry Moore?)

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Sheep can’t read the sign that says “please do not climb on the sculptures” but they do seem to be able to read the non-verbal ‘sign’ that says “walk around me”.

Written by Andy Parkinson

May 1, 2011 at 8:23 am

visiting Yorkshire Sculpture Park

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I didn’t want to watch a wedding on TV,  so to somewhere outdoors with art….. Yorkshire Sculpture Park.  Surely, the most accessible modern and contemporary art venue in the UK.  I went with six members of my family, some of whom were less interested in art than others. We did get some of the usual comments resembling “anyone could have done that” along with genuine surprise to find that certain pieces were actually exhibits. And just for a moment Arcadia, my favourite piece, took me by surprise. I mistook it for a real sign! (I don’t believe I am admitting to that, and it was only for  moment).

Leo Fitzmaurice, Arcadia (one of a series scattered around YSP)

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On the way back to the railway station my son said that he had become conditioned to seeing sculpture in with the landscape and was expecting to be surprised by an exhibit here and there on the journey. No exhibits, but lots of signs, none of them for Arcadia. I  missed the sign for the railway station.

Written by Andy Parkinson

April 30, 2011 at 7:01 am