Yorkshire Sculpture International takes shape on campus

We are celebrating our role in Yorkshire Sculpture International (YSI) – the biggest dedicated sculpture festival in the UK.

Liliane Lijn, who will be unveiling her sculpture – Converse Column – at the entrance to Nexus. Photo by Stephen Weiss. Courtesy Liliane Lijn and Rodeo Gallery

Liliane Lijn, who will be unveiling her sculpture – Converse Column – at the entrance to Nexus. Photo by Stephen Weiss. Courtesy Liliane Lijn and Rodeo Gallery. June 2019

Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Damien Hirst. Our region is associated with some very famous names in the art world – artists who created some of their most groundbreaking and iconic work in sculpture.

And Leeds is this week marking its role in YSI – an exciting 100 days that will build on this legacy and provide a platform for contemporary artists from around the world.

We have teamed up with four major art organisations in the region – the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park – to take part in the event, running from Saturday 22 June to Sunday 29 September.

As well as a series of public exhibitions, international commissions, events and learning programmes, YSI has created more than 200 opportunities for our students.

Jane Bhoyroo, Yorkshire Sculpture International Producer, said: “We are really excited to be working with the University of Leeds. This is a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with academic staff and students to bring fresh skills and expertise into the art sector.

“Leeds also brings something unique to our programme of events: a chance to explore sculpture from different perspectives, such as material engineering or virtual reality.”

A family enjoying one of the sculptures on our campus. June 2019One of the sculptures on our campus 

Explore sculpture with us

We already have our own fascinating connections with sculpture, making it an interesting setting for the YSI programme. A walk through campus, with its eclectic architecture and outdoor spaces, offers a journey where something creative is revealed on almost every corner. There are pieces of modern and contemporary sculpture that span decades, movements and materials, by creators from across the globe.

During YSI, visitors are invited to explore these works and more with a walking tour – our Public Art Trail. But they can also delve deeper into the genre through a series of academic-led discussions – Sculpture in the Round: Conversations about public art.

The conversations have been coordinated by the Cultural Institute and are free and open to all. Further information and booking details are below.

Professor Frank Finlay, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures, and Director of the Cultural Institute, said: “Yorkshire Sculpture International is a fantastic and ambitious opportunity to build on our strong tradition of partnership with all four of the great Yorkshire arts institutions involved, creating exciting opportunities for our students, showcasing our impressive public art collection, including two new additions, and enabling Leeds to engage with the wider public.”

New sculpture on campus

Two exciting artworks arrive on campus this summer to coincide with the event.

Henry Moore’s Three Piece Reclining Figure No.2: Bridge Prop arrived on campus on 11 June on loan from Leeds Art Fund, via Leeds Museums and Galleries. The bronze sculpture piece, which weighs almost 900 kilos and evokes a reclining figure in abstract form, has taken up a long-term residency in our iconic Parkinson Building.

On Wednesday 3 July, British-American artist Liliane Lijn will unveil Converse Column, a specially-commissioned piece sited at the entrance to our new innovation hub, Nexus.

Lijn works with kinetic – moving – text, and is a pioneer in the interaction of art, science, technology and language. The work is a 9m-high revolving column of transforming words designed to represent communication and inspire collaboration.

Staff and students have contributed ideas for the text. Lijn will be discussing her work and influences directly afterwards in her Sculpture in the Round event (details below).

Huma Bhabha, We Come in Peace (2017). June 2019Huma Bhabha, We Come in Peace (2017) 

Sculpture in the Round: conversations about public art

These events have been coordinated by the Cultural Institute and are free and open to the public. Find out more and book your place.

A Conversation about Sculpture and Place with Huma Bhabha

Saturday 22 June, 2-4pm

The Hepworth Wakefield

On the opening day of YSI, world-renowned artist Huma Bhabha will discuss her work and her major new commission for the centre of Wakefield, with Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Director of Programme, Clare Lilley. Bhabha’s approach is unconventional and cross-cultural, making connections between histories, languages and civilisations. This conversation will provide a starting point for a wider discussion about sculpture and place, chaired by Associate Professor Dr Joanne Crawford from the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies at Leeds.

Book your place.

Liliane Lijn In Conversation

Wednesday 3 July, 4.20-6.30pm

Nexus, University of Leeds

Be part of the unveiling of Liliane Lijn’s new work ‘Converse Column’ on campus, then join the conversation to hear about her work and influences. Lijn works with kinetic text and is a pioneer in the interaction of art, science, technology and language. You will also hear from Leeds Art Gallery’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Nigel Walsh.

Book your place.

Is sculpture the most anthropological of the art forms?

Thursday 4 July, 6-8pm

Leeds Art Gallery

YSI Producer, Jane Bhoyroo, will chair this exciting discussion exploring the statement: sculpture is the most anthropological of the art forms. Panellist Laurence Sillars, Head of the Henry Moore Institute, will let you in on behind-the-scenes discussions about curating the Festival. Plus experts from diverse fields, such as YSI artist Tau Lewis; Will Rea, Senior Lecturer in Art at Leeds; and Teaching Fellow in Theatre and Writing, Dr Adam Strickson, will bring a new perspective to the conversation.

Book your place.

Working in Sculpture: Gender, Diversity and Creativity

Thursday 11 July, 6-8pm

stage@leeds, University of Leeds

Professor Griselda Pollock, an eminent art historian at Leeds working in international, postcolonial feminist studies in the visual arts, will chair a discussion exploring the experiences of women working in sculpture. This event will explore gender, making sculpture, feminism and wider challenges around cultural identity. It will focus on the Arts Council Collection’s new touring exhibition of sculpture by women, new commissions for YSI and works on our campus by women artists. Speakers include:

  • Eleanor Clayton, Curator at The Hepworth Wakefield; and
  • Natalie Rudd, Senior Curator at the Arts Council Collection.

Book your place.

The Science of Making Sculpture: Material

Thursday 12 September, 6-8pm

School of Chemical Engineering, Leeds

We will explore the materials science and engineering that makes sculpture happen. This is your chance to unpick what it takes to make sculpture with artists, technicians and material scientists.

Book your place.

Sculptural Encounters in Leeds walking tour

Saturday 14 September, 1.30-3.30pm

Leeds City Centre walking tour

Discover the hidden histories of Leeds, beginning with the once forgotten Central Court at Leeds Art Gallery, recently brought to life by artist Ayse Erkmen. The tour will include a wide range of sculpture located on our campus, including recently installed works, before ending at our Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery. This event is part of Heritage Open Days.

Book your place.

Download our public art on campus guide.

Virtuality in Art

Wednesday 18 September, 6-8pm

Leeds campus

This event will reveal how artists are exploring virtual reality in their work. From projecting onto sculpture to the exciting avenues that the virtual space opens to artists. Join leading researchers in virtual reality at Leeds and other artists and curators to explore what this could mean for artists in the present and the future.

Book your place.

YSI is funded by Arts Council England with regional investment from Leeds 2023, Wakefield Council, Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds.

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