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Installation view: A Living Collection. January 2023. The Hepworth Wakefield
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A Living Collection

14 January 2023 - January 2024

Exhibition entry is £12 / £10 / FREE for Members, Wakefield District residents and under 18s.

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A Living Collection showcases new acquisitions to the collection from recent years, from Surrealist sculpture to contemporary assemblage, revealing a conversation across time and media around the human body and its interactions in the world.

Since Wakefield’s art collection was established in 1923, it has had an aim of nurturing an understanding of contemporary art and its relation to modern life. The Hepworth Wakefield continues to develop the collection with this aim, showing how art can help us understand and explore current lived experiences.  The new works on display address contemporary issues, shift historic imbalances in the collection or enrich narratives explored by artists in shifting contexts.

Artists on display include Sarah Ball, Alvaro Barrington, Mona Hatoum, Rachel Jones, Jimmy Robert, Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings and Dana Schutz alongside works of British Surrealism from The Sherwin Family Collection. Read about some of the highlights below.

Alvaro Barrington, Em reclining sofa bed w/ Burberry pillow, 2021. Acquired for The Hepworth Wakefield in 2021 through a generous donation from The Roden Family and with thanks to Thaddaeus Ropac gallery. Photo: George Baggaley

Republic, 2020, a large fresco painting by Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings, was provoked by a question posed to the artist duo on a panel asking them what a woman-dominated public culture would look like. The duo rejected a utopian idea of a female dominated non-violent and inherently caring society and painted Republic. Republic depicts factitious women in conflict dominating a pavement space. The duo was influenced by the melodrama and public setting of Andrea Mantegna’s Flagellation of Christ, with the Pavement (c.1475–80) a painting which depicts an all-male scene of Christ being whipped by Romans. Quinlan and Hasting invert Mantegna’s scene in Republic, instead, highlighting real-world issues that define women’s space and culture: infighting, racism, homophobia and transphobia. Not only is it an inversion of Mantegna’s etching, men to women, but also of the ways women are traditionally conditioned to occupy public space – to be small, quiet and afraid.

Rosie Hastings and Hannah Quinlan, Republic, 2020, is gifted by Russell Tovey through the Contemporary Art Society, 2022/23.

Rosie Hastings and Hannah Quinlan, Republic, 2020. Gifted by Russell Tovey through the Contemporary Art Society, 2022/23.

Elliot, 2020, an oil painting by Yorkshire-born artist Sarah Ball features many signifiers of Ball’s work like soft brushstrokes, muted colour palettes and a solid background that works in contrast to the piercing glaze of her subject. Ball’s subjects are anonymised often plucked from newspaper cuttings, archival photographs, and social media. The resulting canvases are both intimate and confrontational, thematising issues of identity, gender, and aesthetics.

Sarah Ball, Elliot, 2020, acquired for The Hepworth Wakefield in 2022 through a generous donation from Greg and Alyssa Shannon and with thanks to Stephen Friedman Gallery.

Sarah Ball, Elliot, 2020. Acquired for The Hepworth Wakefield in 2022 through a generous donation from Greg and Alyssa Shannon and with thanks to Stephen Friedman Gallery.

Jimmy Robert’s Frammenti VII, 2020 is one of a series of eight Frammenti, each the result of collaging and re-photographing images of classical sculptures in and around Naples. These works were created in response to the idea that the aesthetic of white imperialism was created through ancient Greek sculptures being believed to be white. Technology now provides incontrovertible proof of the presence of polychromy throughout classical sculpture including at the Parthenon, the supreme icon of ‘white Greece’. Robert’s works are framed in various, often unorthodox, ways extending the artist’s interest in exploring the possibilities of paper as a photographic but also sculptural medium. Jimmy Roberts Frammenti VII, 2020 is gifted by Thomas Dane Gallery.

Jimmy Robert, Frammenti VII, 2020. Gifted by Thomas Dane Gallery.

Stefanie Heinze lives and works in Berlin. Heinze has gained recognition for her brightly coloured and imaginative compositions, which draw on the legacies of Surrealism. From disembodied body parts and everyday objects, to animal-like figures, her subjects melt into colourful, fantastical backgrounds to create vivid visual worlds. Parasol (STICK THER F BOI) was made in 2021 during lockdown in Germany. Heinze drew on her experience of restricted movement and limited social interaction, using the surface of the canvas as a space for the imagination – a substitute for closeness and touch.

Stefanie Heinze, Parasol (STICK THER F BOI), 2021, acquired for The Hepworth Wakefield in 2021 through a generous donation from Elie Khouri Art Foundation and with thanks to Pippy Houldsworth Gallery.