The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a wonderful place.
Right on our doorstep in West Yorkshire, it really is one of the county’s world class visitor attractions. I’m amazed that I still talk to people who haven’t been yet. The combination of sculpture and Yorkshire landscape is not to be missed.
I’d been looking for a reason to reacquaint myself with the Park and when the invitation to the new Jaume Plensa exhibition landed in my inbox, I responded immediately.
Jaume Plensa is a Spanish artist who is internationally acclaimed – this is a very big deal as it’s is the largest collection of his work all in one place. The first glimpse you get of the art is as you enter the park from the road with two enormous silver human forms standing guard. These are a statement of intent and a sign of the drama to come.
The artworks are strategically placed around the landscape in a curated route that takes the visitor on a journey of discovery. The outdoor interaction with the artworks and the landscape is breathtaking from gigantic forms made out of metallic letterforms to tree hugging iron men.
On a vividly bright spring afternoon, the large silver life forms were striking against the backdrop of a cloudless azure sky.
The human form takes centre stage in Plensa’s work and they speak of multicultural storytelling and perhaps the universal truth that we’re all made up of stories and have stories to tell.
The galleries inside hold more enticing treasure with a row of galleries behind a typographic curtain of poetry, each exhibit encouraging – no, demanding – to be touched, caressed, jangled, struck. It’s rare and refreshing when we are actually encouraged to interact with art this way. It shows that art can be fun and human too.
One darkened room contains a series of eminently bangable gongs and as I’d seen this work before in Palma and it was great to be reunited once again and then it all fell in to place as some of the other works I’d seen before in Madrid.
I don’t want this review to be too highbrow – because this is no highbrow show. This is art for the masses and definitely for everybody, with a depth that can be plumbed if you wish to.
I urge you to visit this exhibition on the next sunny day and I guarantee you’ll fall in love with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park again and if you’ve not been before, I guarantee you’ll be besotted.
Photographs by Jonty Wilde