Interrogating Architecture

There has long been a profound and complex relationship between sculpture and architecture, with many artists encountering or breaking down a boundary between the two disciplines. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, questions what we know and understand about design through [Re]construct, a group exhibtion selected from the Arts Council Collection, including Martin Creed, Anya Gallaccio and Cornelia Parker.

An investigation into how architecture has been incorporated into creative compositions is at the heart of YSP’s display, musing on the processes of demolition and reconstruction to both interrogate and manipulate  forms. An inquiry into the permeance of materials comes to the forefront; featured works test the limits of the built environment. From bricks assembled from wax, onyx wall plugs, reassembled ruins and stone-like painted bodies, the collection undermines preconceived notions of design. Other artists installs objects into the very substance of buildings; their presence subtly alters the nature of construction.

The show is displayed in the 18th century chapel, a significant placement due to the fact that churches represent some of the longest-standing engineering notions in human history. Within the nave, one of Cornelia Parker’s iconic suspended works, Neither From Nor Towards (1992), comprises weathered bricks from a row of houses destroyed following the erosion of the cliffs. The materials are reassembled to form a simplified box house when viewed from above, echoing the substance’s previous life and held in a ghostly stasis. Alex Chinneck also transforms the nature of architecture in A Hole in a Bag of Nerves (2016). He replaces the typical production materials with wax, a malleable resource that easily changes its form, reflecting transience. At the centre of the composition, a wall has been melted; the resulting cascades of wax portray incompatibility, and as with Parker’s sculpture, captures a moment frozen in time.

In Work No.135 by Martin Creed, an object grows from and becomes part of the wall, covered with the same paint so it simultaneously appears both at home and inharmonious. The work interrupts the preconceptions of a building; evoking an organic growth that thrives within the inanimate structure.

[Re]construct, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, from 1 April – 25 June.

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1. Cornelia Parker, Neither From Nor Towards (1992). Courtesy of YSP, Arts Council Collection and the artist.