YSP’s two major events in one special day

Yorkshire Sculpture Park has a particularly impressive line up for one day this summer. Arts correspondent Nick Ahad on the venue’s offerings and a special piece of work.

Two Turner Prize winners in a single venue for just a single day is the impressive boast Yorkshire Sculpture Park will have next week.

Already playing host to the work of Anish Kapoor this summer, the sculpture park next week is the latest stop off for a national tour of an artwork by Turner Prize winning, internationally renowned Jeremy Deller.

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The artist’s work is touring nationally, but is appearing in only a few venues outside of London – and in Yorkshire, only at the Wakefield sculpture Park.

Sacrilege is Deller’s playful, fun work which features a life-size inflatable replica of Stonehenge – it is essentially a bouncy castle, but in the shape, size and structure of Stonehenge.

The piece was unveiled in April at the Glasgow International Festival of Art and Deller was delighted that one of the most important elements of the piece – surprise – was maintained until the big unveiling.

“It was actually quite a surprise that we managed to keep it under wraps before the unveiling, simply because we had so many people on it and in these days of smartphones and Twitter and everything, we were fairly convinced something about the piece would be leaked out,” says Deller.

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“In the end something did appear in the newspapers before the piece was revealed, but what the newspapers said was incorrect, so that actually added to the mystery.”

The secret is now out, so we don’t mind sharing the news that Deller’s piece, coming to YSP next Wednesday, is a full size replica of Stonehenge. Deller is equally philosophical about discussing the piece openly now – he says some of the element of surprise is still preserved because, no matter how much people know about the piece, it is only when they experience it up close and personal that they are really hit by just what an impressive artwork it really is.

“There will still hopefully be people who see it for the first time and not know much about it, not know what it is and be intrigued and surprised by it. For me it’s as much an event, a happening if you like, as it is a piece of art,” says Deller.

“These days things are so talked about, so promoted, so over-exposed that the impact of actually experiencing them is lessened – these days there is so much publicity around any sort of work that I feel like I’ve seen them before I’ve actually seen them.

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“You rarely come to things uncluttered, which makes it difficult to experience the thing for itself.”

Which is one of the key reasons for the creation of Deller’s Sacrilege.

“Stonehenge is just there. In a world where you feel like you’ve seen a film before you’ve actually seen it, it’s one of the few things in our culture that remains a mystery,” says Deller.

The artist, who won the Turner Prize in 2004, is often at a pivotal point of the debate about modern art. The problem with his work is that it is eminently uncollectable.

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“I supposed someone could buy a giant inflatable replica of Stonehenge. But there’s only one of them and I’m not entirely sure if I can think of anyone who would want to buy it,” he says, and it is the case with much of his work. He tends much more to make a living as an artist through commissions – Sacrilege was a co-commission between Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art and the Mayor of London – and it is with support from Arts Council England it is now travelling around the country as part of the nationwide London 2012 Festival.

Of the piece, Deller says: “I thought in some ways it would just be a funny piece to create, kind of absurd. To take this very sacred place, that is full of superstition and supposition about what it means and represents and to do something playful with it, was a powerful idea for me,” he says.

“It’s not a piece I’ve made for the ‘art world’. It’s not something you can stand back from and view – you have to get on it and have a laugh. There is no mystery or deep thinking to be done, it’s a happy artwork and the other important aspect is that it is absolutely not just for kids. Adults have been jumping on it and it’s great to see people just enjoying the piece.”

While the piece is at the Sculpture Park next week, the Yorkshire venue will play host to another Turner Prize winning, internationally renowned, artist.

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Anish Kapoor’s work is on display at Yorkshire Sculpture Park until November at the Longside Gallery, in a first survey of the artist’s work to be held in the UK outside London.

The artist’s stock is high, having been recently commissioned to create Orbit, a 115m high observation tower as the centrepiece of London’s Olympic village.

The exhibition at YSP features a number of sculptures made by Kapoor using a range of materials including pigment, stone and polished stainless steel.

Clare Lilley, director of programme at YSP, said: “This is a really important project and it’s fantastic that one of the world’s greatest living artists can now be seen in Yorkshire. Kapoor’s work with the Olympics times perfectly with this exhibition.”

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The exhibition at the gallery draws from the Arts Council collection, held in permanent storage at YSP.

Caroline Douglas, head of the Arts Council Collection, said: “After one of the most successful tours of any Arts Council Collection exhibition, we are very proud to bring Anish Kapoor’s Flashback show here. The show here assembles major pieces from throughout his career drawn from public collections in the UK and is a testament to the richness and vibrancy of museum collections in this country”.

The show of nine major pieces has been selected by the artist.

Turner Prize winning artists

Sacrilege by Jeremy Deller is at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Bretton near Wakefield, on Wednesday, July 11 from 12pm to 6pm. Visitors are invited to not only touch the art work, but to walk and bounce around on it. ‘Bouncers’ are also encouraged to download free Druid Beards from the Sacrilege website – sacrilege2012.co.uk – colour them in and arrive in druid fancy dress.

Anish Kapoor: Flashback is at YSP’s Longside Gallery until November 4 and features work including White Sand, Red Millet, Many Flowers (1982) and

and Untitled in stainless steel, (1982).