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Large-scale work by Phyllida Barlow gifted to the nation through the Cultural Gifts Scheme

10 Dec 2021

The Hepworth Wakefield and Leeds Art Gallery have jointly been allocated a large-scale sculpture by Phyllida Barlow, gifted to the nation through the Cultural Gifts Scheme, administered by the Arts Council.

Phyllida Barlow creates monumental sculptures from inexpensive, everyday materials such as cement, cardboard, fabric, plywood and polystyrene. Her forms are typically painted in vibrant colours, making them as much an articulation of painting as sculpture. The rough, handmade nature of her work is made evident, celebrating a truth to materials and processes.

The work allocated to The Hepworth Wakefield and Leeds Art GalleryRIG: untitled; stagechairs – was created in 2011. Reaching 3.5m high and 4m long, it explores the idea of sculpture as stage and invites the viewer to explore the relationship between object and architectural space. ‘There’s something about walking around sculpture that has the possibility of being reflective, like walking through a landscape,’ Barlow has said. ‘The largeness of sculpture has that infinite possibility to make one engage beyond just the object itself and into other realms of experience.’

Phyllida Barlow was nominated for The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture in 2016 and was awarded the ‘People’s Choice‘ by visitors to the exhibition. Barlow was subsequently invited to provide a provocation that guided the curatorial direction of the first Yorkshire Sculpture International in 2019.

Andrew Bonacina, Chief Curator at The Hepworth Wakefield, said: ‘Despite a close relationship with the artist built over a number of years, Wakefield has no works by Barlow in the collection, so we are delighted to have been allocated, jointly with Leeds Art Gallery, this major work through the Cultural Gifts Scheme and are very grateful to the donor for their incredible generosity. Barlow’s monumental Screestage was hugely popular with our audiences when it was displayed at the gallery in 2016 and we believe RIG: untitled; stagechairs will provide an equally dramatic experience for visitors when set within the unique geometries of our gallery spaces. It will become a much-loved work in Wakefield’s collection.’

RIG: untitled; stagechairs will go on display at The Hepworth Wakefield from 11 March 2022 in a new display of recent new acquisitions for the collection.

Phyllida Barlow, RIG: untitled; stagechairs, 2011