Frieze Sculpture Park 2017
For the first time, this year Frieze Sculpture Park is open all summer with 23 works scattered throughout The English Gardens of Regent’s Park in Central London. The Sculpture Park contains iconic pieces by well-known sculptors alongside several experimental, conceptual works by younger artists.
The theme for this selection of works is from Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Director of Programme, Clare Lilley, ‘From the playful to the political, these 23 works explore contemporary sculpture’s material and technical dexterity, together with its social role and reflection on the human condition and our environment.’
Magdalena Abakanowicz’s, Standing Figure with Wheel, 1990 recalls many of the well-known motifs commonly found in her work. Her work often uses these figurative elements, the wheel and the figure, to symbolize the crushing onslaught of history and the cyclical potential for renewal. Her works often incorporate themes that address the aggression of crowds, personal injustice embodied in figures that are often headless and have an ambiguous gender. Abakanowicz, who survived the Russian Revolution and the Nazi invasion in Poland, died earlier this year.
Vulcan, 1999, is a late monumental commission from Sir Edouardo Paolozzi, a Scottish-Italian artist. Paolozzi was a pioneer of the Pop Art movement. This late sculpture by Paolozzi is a bronze edition of a sculpture representing the Roman god of fire and the blacksmith who forged his own weapons. A welded steel edition of this subject is on towering display in the Dean Gallery at the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, alongside many other works donated by Paolozzi, including a large portion of his studio.
British artist, Sir Anthony Caro was a pioneer of abstract steel sculpture and Erl King, 2009 exemplifies his life-long interest in this medium. Caro often combined found industrial objects with literary references and Greek history. This piece is no exception, with shipyard objects and steel welded together creating Caro’s interpretation of the subject of Goethe’s poem bearing the same name.
John Chamberlain is an American artist whose iconic crushed automobile sculptures reflected his interest in the use of modern industrial detritus. Fiddler’s Fortune, 2010 is a late work, derived from a series of tinfoil sculptures he began making at small scale. Twenty years after he began making these playful studies, he found a fabricator who was able to enlarge them, retaining all the original qualities of the material. Fiddler’s Fortune is the result of years of Chamberlain’s delight in a material, using it to play with shape and texture, finally rendering these studies at a monumental scale.
Stroke, 2014 by British artist Sir Anthony Cragg who lives and works in Wuppertal, Germany, is part of a recent series of works that references his series of Early Forms through their elasticity and dynamic compositions. The title of this work implies movement and lightness. The resulting form embodies these qualities; yet, cast in bronze, a material that also fundamentally belies these characteristics. Stroke is somehow elegant and ephemeral, resisting bulky monumentality.
Rasheed Araeen’s Summertime – The Regents Park, 2017 is a work that recalls the geometric patters commonly found in Islamic art and architecture coupled with the seriality and repetition identified with Minimalism. Rasheed, who studied as an engineer, is recognized as a pioneer of Minimalist art in Britain. In this work, the rhythmic lace pattern recalls a window grille, which Araeen designed for his parents’ home in Pakistan.
Alongside these sculptures are works by artists Emily Young, Jaume Plensa and Thomas Price that represent an interest in portraiture. Each of these artists manifests this interest in different ways, ranging from the traditional to a more conceptual approach.
Big Be-Hide, 2017, by Polish artist, Alicja Kwade, represents a much more formal, conceptual sculptural language. Kwade makes works that investigate subjects ranging from mathematics, to physics, to magic and space. This work is composed of two rocks – an authentic stone and a cast-aluminium reproduction. The boulders sit on opposite sides of a two-way mirror, one side completely transparent, the other reflecting the scene in view. Big Be-Hide is a work that arouses suspicion and provokes the imagination.
A playful work by Japanese artist Takuro Kuwata, Untitled, 2016, appears in the landscape, transforming the environment into one that is evocative of a Hayao Miyazaki film. His work represents a young and fresh approach to the renowned history of ceramic pottery making in Japan. Kuwata employs traditional techniques; creating glazes using unorthodox colours and adding rocks and stones at an outsize scale. Kuwata is from a young generation of artists who grew up in a world brimming with coloured plastic objects and anime culture; influences that Kuwata has embraced in this highly crafted work.
Untitled (Sewn Cube), 2016, by British artist John Walbank plays with post-modern industrial detritus; using materials such as fibreglass, tape and rope in his work. Walbank worked as a studio assistant for Sir Anthony Caro, and Walbank’s work often reflects his interest in the making of sculpture and how things are created. This sewn cube appears fragile and ephemeral. However, it is constructed of 20 fibreglass panels, mounted on a plywood frame, joined together with a found blue rope to create a structurally robust object. Recalling the language of craft, Walbank implores viewers to think about how this work was made, alluding to its seemingly makeshift joining and stitching.
These are just a selection of the pieces one can expect to see at this year’s sculpture park. Alongside these works there are many other pieces by: Reza Aramesh, Miquel Barceló, Michael Craig-Martin, Urs Fischer, Gary Hume, KAWS, Jaume Plensa, Peter Regli, Ugo Rondinone, Sarah Sze, Hank Willis Thomas and Bernar Venet. This selection of modern and contemporary works opened on 5 July and will remain on view through 8 October, running alongside the Frieze Art Fairs.
Frieze Sculpture Park
Until 8 October 2017
Regent’s Park, London
Entrance to Frieze Sculpture is free.