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Artist Tau Lewis has her first exhibition in Europe at The Hepworth Wakefield in Yorkshire as part of the Yorkshire Sculpture International (YSI) exhibition. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
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Yorkshire Sculpture International

22 June - 29 Sept 2019

Yorkshire Sculpture International – 100 days celebrating sculpture

⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Sunday Telegraph

⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Times

For Yorkshire Sculpture International at The Hepworth Wakefield, this exhibition is centred around the idea of ‘truth to materials’, a concept adopted by British modernist artists including Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, whose work forms the heart of Wakefield’s impressive art collection. It responds to their interest in how a sculptural form should be determined by the characteristics of the chosen material for the work, and explores how these relationships are approached by artists creating sculpture today.

A series of new commissions and debut UK presentations by established and emerging artists from around the world including Nairy Baghramian, Jimmie Durham, Wolfgang Laib and Tau Lewis unfold across the gallery.

Yorkshire Sculpture International is organised by four world-renowned cultural institutions – Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park – and will include major new outdoor commissions across both cities.

Artists & Exhibitions

Wolfgang Laib

b. 1950, Germany

A major new installation by Wolfgang Laib, who only uses raw natural resources in his work, takes over one of our largest galleries. Created with rice, stone and ash arranged in a grid of small mounds, the installation invites the viewer to contemplate the interweaving layers of time.

Nairy Baghramian

b. 1971, Iran

Nairy  Baghramian displays recent sculptures from her Maintainers series, which combine raw aluminium casts, coloured wax and lacquer painted braces with cork.  The arrangement of these material components in relation to one another suggests both independence and co-dependence, their precarious balancing hinting at the possibility of continuous rearrangement.

Baghramian will also display a new work – Coude à Coude – created for this exhibition.

Tau Lewis

b. 1993, Canada

For Yorkshire Sculpture International at The Hepworth Wakefield, Jamaican-Canadian artist Tau Lewis (b. 1993, Toronto) presents her first solo show outside of North America.

It brings together recent works with an installation specially commissioned for this exhibition. At the heart of the new installation hangs a large-scale quilt, The Coral Reef Preservation Society, which takes its title from a painting of the Negril coral reef in Jamaica that hung as a print on the wall of the artists childhood home. Its depiction of aquatic life forms became a reference point for a new body of work, in which Lewis uses myth making to reanimate the history of loss that was the Middle Passage.


Jimmie Durham

b. 1940, USA

The dialogue between modern British and contemporary sculpture is introduced through a display of recent works by Jimmie Durham positioned in conversation with early carved sculptures by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.

Durham’s sculptures of raw or partially-worked wood or stone, presented sometimes in isolation and at other times combined with fragments of industrial equipment, domestic furniture or text, echo forms closely associated with modernist sculpture, such as the reclining figure.

Ro Robertson

YSI Associate Artist

Hebden Bridge-based artist Ro Robertson (b. 1984, Sunderland) has been paired with The Hepworth Wakefield under the YSI Associate Artists scheme. Their practice works across sculpture, photography, drawing and performance to explore the boundaries of the human body and its environment.

Robertson’s current body of work, Stone (Butch), explores queerness and the rural landscape, situating a conversation about gender and sexuality between the materials of stone, water and the body. The phrase ‘stone butch’ is used to describe lesbian expression of masculinity and was popularised by the novel, Stone Butch Blues (1993), by transgender author and activist Leslie Feinburg. Robertson’s new work focuses on the landscape close to their studio, in particular a set of rock formations called The Bridestones in Todmorden.

Ro’s work will be on display as a contemporary intervention within our display of work by Barbara Hepworth in gallery 3.



Festival Guide & Merch


This exhibition is kindly supported by