This summer Yorkshire Sculpture International (YSI) presents seven major sculptures by Damien Hirst as part of the inaugural edition of the festival taking place across Leeds and Wakefield until 29 September 2019. Works will be shown outdoors in Leeds city centre, at Leeds Art Gallery and at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Image: Hymn, a 20ft (6m) high sculpture, has been unveiled on Briggate in Leeds city centre, photo courtesy BBC
‘The giant bronze sculptures at YSP are where they belong – they're just made for that setting.’
Charity by Damien Hirst, courtesy to YSP
Outside The Weston, Myth presents a white unicorn with half of its skin flayed to reveal vibrant red, pink and yellow musculature and tissues. Hirst often takes religious or mythical figures as his subjects, unpicking and disrupting their familiar narratives. Horses have been an artistic subject for millennia and, referencing this tradition, Hirst’s unicorn stands high on a classical plinth. Like all works in this display, Myth makes a playful nod to art history.
Back towards Lower Lake, The Hat Makes the Man is based on a 1920 collage of the same name by Surrealist artist Max Ernst. Ernst’s work is comprised of cut-out images of hats absurdly reassembled in stacks with intentionally phallic-like supports. It is thought to have been inspired by Sigmund Freud’s book The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious (1905), in which Freud describes the hat as a symbol of repressed male desire. Hirst renders Ernst’s work in three dimensions, using bronze casts of wooden pallets as supports and thereby introducing the idea of sculptural collage or assemblage. As with The Virgin Mother, Hirst’s materials are hidden. In the former works, the bronze is painted to emulate plastic and with The Hat the casting precisely imitates painted wood. The artist thereby plays with the grandeur associated with bronze.
The sculptures on display in the city centre are positioned in well-known locations, making YSI a key part of the city experience in summer 2019. Standing at six metres high, the painted bronze sculpture Hymn is a monumental reinterpretation of an educational anatomical model intended for use by children, in which a cross-section reveals the internal organs of the male torso. Anatomy of an Angel, which will be on display in the Victoria Quarter arcade in the city centre, is a marble work which references classical sculpture. As in Hymn, The Virgin Mother and Myth, the vital organs beneath the skin are exposed.
Hymn by Damien Hirst, a 20ft (6m) high sculpture, has been unveiled on Briggate in Leeds city centre, photo courtesy BBC
Leeds Art Gallery is exhibiting Hirst’s Black Sheep with Golden Horns in the historic Arnold and Marjorie Ziff Gallery. Part of Hirst’s iconic formaldehyde series, the work features a black sheep with golden horns, positioned within a steel-framed vitrine. This sculpture is at the centre of the Ziff gallery display, in dialogue with the historic painting collection which covers the years 1888 to 1900.
Jane Bhoyroo, Producer of YSI: ‘One of the aims of YSI is to engage a mass audience through sculpture and Damien's works will play a key role in achieving this. YSI promises to be something special, memorable and game changing for Yorkshire’s growing art scene.’
Until 29 September, 2019
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