Emily Speed at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

If you are looking for ideas for day trips this Summer I can certainly recommend Yorkshire Sculpture Park and until 18 September 2011 there is an exhibition by Liverpool-based artist Emily Speed alongside the much larger works of Jaume Plensa who is well-known locally for his ‘Dream’ sculpture at St Helens.

You can go by car, of course, but we opted for an interesting mix of trains, buses and taxis which worked quite well but we learned that just because the bus stop opposite Hepworth Wakefield displays the times and details of the 96 to YSP it doesn’t mean that it actually stops there! That was half an hour wasted. (Note: Until late August there is a bus from Huddersfield to Cannon Hall which stops at YSP)

The new Hepworth Wakefield is nice, they’ve gone for the minimal, concrete box look with views of the river Calder which surrounds it. I like Barbara Hepworth’s stuff and there’s some good artworks by other members of the Cornwall gang but they’re all in surprisingly muted colours, I think a big Patrick Heron or two is needed to brighten the place up a bit. Currently there is also an exhibition of new and recent work by Eva Rothschild which is well worth a look.

We arrived at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in mid-afternoon on a lovely sunny day, ideal for a long walk around the grounds though we still spent a good while in the ‘underground’ gallery looking at the wonderful installation by Jaume Plensa, some of which you can interact with.

Emily Speed’s show ‘Make Shift‘  is all indoors so be careful not to miss it. There’s a good selection of different recent works, I love the way her work always makes me want to find out more – there’s obviously a story there but what is it?  I also like the references to books, she is obviously a lover of bookish things and this comes across in here work, most evidently in ‘Portable Reading Room’ , made particularly for the novel The Box Man by Kobo Abe. I couldn’t resist climbing inside the tiny room on wheels for a few minutes.

You can also step inside ‘Place for Hiding’ – a floor to ceiling construction made from bits of furniture from the abandoned student accommodation buildings which are in the YSP grounds. Also ‘Mattdress’ (a mattress that you wear you see) was taken from the same rooms. ‘Cabanon’ is a coracle that Emily built, she then built a shelter on top, a sort of floating folly and she succeeded in rowing it across the lake which must have been extremely difficult – coracles are difficulty enough but with only a small space for the oar and restricted views it must have been quite scary. The construction is in the gallery along with photos documenting the event.

Perhaps my own favourites are the eggs – ‘egg – nest – home – country – universe’ (another literature reference – the title is taken from The Hunchback of Notre Dame). Eggs made from plaster with add-ons like a door or window because an egg, though fragile, is a protective, safe space like a home.

As this was the preview night we were able to sit in the grounds through the early evening delighting in the view, the sculptures and the rabbits enjoying their ‘silflay’, one of the most pleasurable exhibition openings we’ve experienced.

www.emilyspeed.co.uk

All photos © Minako Jackson except those of Emily Speed’s work.

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