James Capper: Open Air at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

A new exhibition by James Capper, whose extraordinary sculptures can walk, swim and climb mountains, opens at Yorkshire Sculpture Park on 5 January 2013. Featuring three large-scale walking sculptures in the landscape and models, drawings and films in the Bothy Gallery, this project is a timely showcase of the artist’s career to date and shows the evolution of his practice and fascinating exploration of the potential and aesthetics of the machine.

Open air work comprises three of Capper’s earth marking sculptures: Midi Marker (2012), a vibrant yellow machine with claw-like feet which imprints on the landscape; gigantic, forklift-like engine Exstenda Claw (2012); and Tread Toe (2010), a large-scale moving sculpture, self powered by a hydraulic foot which moves forward in a slow stepping motion.

The exhibition includes work from each of Capper’s divisions: Earth Marking, Offshore and Material Handling, which reference the monumental scale and earth interventions of 1970s Land Art, such as Spiral Jetty (1970) by Robert Smithson. Smithson used a JCB to move black basalt rocks and earth in Utah’s Great Salt Lake creating a 1,500 feet-long coil that stretches out into water made red by the microorganisms that thrive in its highly saline environment.

Mechanical processes are central to Capper’s work and he is interested in the innovations of early engineering. Capper is inspired by the contributions made to engineering by prolific inventor Robert Gilmour Le Tourneau (1888– 1969) who developed a number of experimental and prototype earthmoving machines, many of which were used during World War II.

Throughout the duration of the exhibition, Capper will test the possibilities of his open air sculptures and on 13, 20, and 27 January and 2 February 2013 will demonstrate his moving sculptures to the public.

James Capper: Open Air, 5 January until 14 April 2013, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, WF4 4LG. www.ysp.co.uk


1. Tread Toe, 2010. Courtest the artist James Capper.
2. Midi Marker, 2012. Courtesy the artist James Capper