Throughout April, experimental practitioners Miriam Austin, Sam Belinfante, Tom Lovelace and Frances Scott spent two weeks living and practicing in Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield. As an outcome of full immersion in the landscape, the artworks created during this time offer dialogues between the locale’s past and contemporary practices including video, sound and sculpture. Curated in partnership with Art Licks, a platform for emerging artists, the subsequent exhibition, On the heights, presents both indoor and open-air pieces, making full use of the Bothy Gallery and natural backdrop. Forming part of YSP’s visiting artist initiative, this programme continues the gallery’s mission of supporting practitioners in their early careers.
The diverse selection of works perceptively engages with narratives that define the space. Austin’s contribution, Sequence for White Wells, for example, focuses on the literary and sculptural traditions of the area. Exploring folklore, architecture, monuments and earthworks, her inquiries into oral storytelling reveal distinct characters and tropes. Her output inspires the viewer to consider a non-linear relationship with the past, acknowledging the way in which traditional tales and rituals continue to underpin the very fabric of the region. Further paying homage to literary traditions, Belinfante’s multi-sensory recording of the “play within a play” from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream investigates the perceptual phenomenon of synathesia whilst foregrounding the voices of labourers.
In contrast, Lovelace’s contribution subverts affirmed histories across several locations. His outdoor sculptures, Dazzle Site, which inhabit the Upper Lake and Garden Pond, instil a sense of doubt in the viewer, and are accompanied by both photographic assemblage and performance. The lakes are central to his investigations, their hypnotic quality allowing him to embark on “an exploration of the unknown and known, fact and fiction, the visible and the hidden and unidentifiable in-betweens.” Disrupting the quotidian, the performance takes visitors on a tour of the 500-acre area, manipulating the surroundings by providing alternate stories about YSP. In this way the work echoes the topography of the landscape, which has been reshaped over time. The piece encourages critical engagement, causing the participants to question the veracity of anecdotal evidence and reconsider notions of visual perception. Scott’s 16mm projection, written score and sound installation Its soil was a plot she do the tree in different voices is also spread over multiple sites, occupying the Bothy Gallery, Archive and 19th century Camellia House. Using the 1086 Domesday survey’s definition of the land as “waste” as a starting point, Scott’s spatially aware installations echo one another, creating non-sequential timelines.
Opens 28 October. Find out more: www.ysp.org.uk.
1. Miriam Austin, Sequence for White Wells, digital video still, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Art Licks.