image of bronze statues


19 June 2019


Saturday 22nd June 2019 will see the launch of the very first Yorkshire Sculpture International (YSI), the UK’s largest dedicated sculpture festival. YSI will feature public commissions outdoors across Leeds and Wakefield and major exhibitions at each of the four partner venues that together comprise the ‘Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle’ – the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Leeds Art Gallery will display a number of new commissions from international artists, as well as showcase the strength of their respected collections in response to the provocation posed by invited artist Phyllida Barlow that ‘sculpture is the most anthropological of the art forms’.

Yorkshire Sculpture International has commissioned Ayşe Erkmen (b. 1949, Istanbul) to create a site-specific sculpture for Leeds Art Gallery’s Central Court. This is the first time a work has been specifically created for this gallery space and responds to its hidden history and the many architectural changes that have taken place throughout the life of the building.

Revealed during the 2016 renovation of the gallery, the original barrel vaulted glass roof had been hidden since the 1960s above a false ceiling created to block out the light to show film and video work. The re-discovery of this spectacular space was a reminder of the original grandeur of Leeds Art Gallery, constructed in 1888.

Ayşe Erkmen has created three of four, 2019 to echo the fantastic architectural structure of the recently revealed Central Court by adding a new ceiling that reaches all the way down to the floor.

Nobuko Tsuchiya (b. 1972, Japan) will present her first solo exhibition in a UK gallery. Tsuchiya is a sculptor working across a variety of media with an interdisciplinary imagination, her sculptures are primitive and playful inventions, made out of found scraps of household objects. Over the last month, Tsuchiya has made her work directly in Leeds Art Gallery, taking over one of the galleries as her studio.

Tsuchiya’s practice begins by collecting materials she is intuitively attracted to, she then combines these materials with unique polymers that she mixes and casts. The final works will be assembled on site giving audiences a unique look into the artist’s process.

Rachel Harrison (b. 1966, New York) will exhibit a group of works seen here together for the first time. Harrison’s work draws from a wide range of influences, combining art historical and pop cultural references through a diverse and witty assemblage of materials. On the occasion of YSI, Harrison displays a series of photographs and sculpture that offer unexpected perspectives on the fundamental subject of the human figure in surprising ways.

Joanna Piotrowska (b. 1985, Poland) will present an installation that has been made especially for Yorkshire Sculpture International at Leeds Art Gallery.  Piotrowska will take over one of the galleries, carpeting the floor and installing a series of composed black and white photographs which explore notions of the human body and social structures; these are shown alongside a selection of sculptures chosen by the artist from the Leeds collection. Piotrowska’s work examines the complex power dynamics and psychological effects of human relationships.

On display in Leeds Art Gallery’s Victorian gallery will be Damien Hirst’s (b.1965, UK) Black Sheep with Golden Horns (2009). Hirst has strong link with the city of Leeds having studied here and has fond memories of visiting the gallery.

“I’m so happy to have my work in and around Leeds. When I was growing up in the city, Leeds Art Gallery was my way into art.”

Part of Hirst’s iconic formaldehyde series, Black Sheep with Golden Horns is positioned within a steel-framed vitrine. This sculpture is situated in the centre of the Victorian gallery, in dialogue with the historic painting collection which covers the years 1888 to 1900. Visitors to YSI will also be able to see Hirst’s work in two locations in Leeds City Centre as well as open air spaces of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

In response to Phyllida Barlow’s provocation that ‘sculpture is the most anthropological of the art forms’ Leeds Art Gallery also presents a comprehensive display of collection works. Woodwork: A Family Tree of Sculpture explores whether wood is indeed the most anthropological of materials. The use of wood crosses cultures and time like no other material and sculptors value wood for its ability to take form through the use of tools, while remaining durable and portable.

Taken from both the sculpture and world cultures collections of Leeds Museums and Galleries, this display brings together objects from Africa, Britain, China, India, Myanmar and New Zealand from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As part of this display the gallery also presents eight new acquisitions to the sculpture collections, shown for the first time.

A small display of enigmatic sculptures and drawings from the Leeds sculpture collections will be shown in the space that joins Leeds Art Gallery with partners Henry Moore Institute. Rituals, Processes & Tools shows works dating principally from the 1970s and early 1980s, including new and recent acquisitions by Martin Rogers, Roger Ackling and Keir Smith, many of which have never been shown before in Leeds Art Gallery.

From delicate pieces of driftwood, inscribed and modified via repetitive processes; to playful objects, which appear as games; to tools to be worn on the body as part of an elaborate activity, all the works in this presentation have a ritualistic or performative aspect.

Sarah Brown, Principal Keeper Leeds Art Gallery said:

“At the heart of our programme for Yorkshire Sculpture International is the opportunity for visitors to experience the incredible breadth of what sculpture is and can be today. Accompanying the exhibition is a vibrant programme of talks and activities for all ages to enjoy throughout the summer.”




Notes to editors:

Yorkshire Sculpture International is a free festival of sculpture across Leeds and Wakefield running from Saturday 22 June until Sunday 29 September 2019.

For more information on YSI, please visit

Follow the hashtag #YSI2019 on social media to keep up-to-date on YSI news.

For all press enquiries, please contact:

Carrie Rees at Rees & Co –

Email: [email protected]

Office: +44 (0)20 3137 8776

Sarah St. Amand at Rees & Co –

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Office: +44 (0)20 3137 8776

 About Yorkshire Sculpture International

Yorkshire Sculpture International –  a free, 100-day festival taking place across Yorkshire from 22 June until 29 September 2019 – will feature major new public commissions in Leeds and Wakefield, a programme of events and exhibitions across the four world-renowned galleries that form Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle – Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The inaugural edition will be the UK’s largest dedicated sculpture festival and builds upon Yorkshire’s rich history as the birthplace of pioneering sculptors, including Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, and as the home of this unique consortium of galleries and celebrated sculpture collections.

Reflecting the provocation chosen by British artist Phyllida Barlow that ‘sculpture is the most anthropological of the artforms’ the festival will respond to the idea that there is a basic human impulse to make and connect with objects. The programme will explore what it means to create sculpture today, around the globe and in Yorkshire. Showcasing the breadth and diversity of contemporary sculpture practice, the artists participating in YSI challenge what we understand as sculpture, making sense of the world and its political, environmental and social dimensions. The partner programme will feature 18 artists from 13 different countries.

Yorkshire Sculpture International 2019 is curated by Andrew Bonacina (Chief Curator, The Hepworth Wakefield), Emily Riddle (Assistant Curator, The Hepworth Wakefield), Sarah Brown (Principal Keeper, Leeds Art Gallery), Clare Lilley (Director of Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park) and Laurence Sillars (Head of Programmes, Henry Moore Institute), Jane Bhoyroo (Producer, Yorkshire Sculpture International) and Meghan Goodeve (Engagement Curator, Yorkshire Sculpture International).

Yorkshire Sculpture International has raised more than £1.5 million, including a National Lottery funded Ambition for Excellence grant from Arts Council England and regional investment from Leeds 2023, Wakefield Council, Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds.

About Leeds Art Gallery

Free entry

Tues – Sat 10am – 5pm

Sun 11am – 3pm

Leeds Art Gallery, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3AA

Leeds Art Gallery offers dynamic temporary exhibitions and a world-class collection of modern British art. Founded in 1888, the gallery has designated collections of 19th and 20th century British art widely considered to be the best outside the national collections. The collection represents the development of English modernism shown through key works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Jacob Epstein. Leeds Art Gallery through a partnership with the Henry Moore Institute, has built one of the strongest collections of British sculpture in the country and confirmed Leeds’s status as an international centre for the study and appreciation of sculpture. The Leeds Sculpture Collection comprises over 1,000 objects, 400 works on paper and the Henry Moore Institute Archive of over 270 collections of papers relating to sculptors.



Notes to editors:

Temple Newsam house showcases over 40 interiors and one of the most important collections of fine and decorative arts in Britain which were designated as being of pre-eminent importance in 1997 (the first country house to be recognised in this way).

It is a treasure house of outstanding collections including furniture, ceramics, textiles, silver and wallpaper. The house captures over 500 years of history and this is key to the visitor experience. The house is brought to life by telling the stories of the people who lived and worked there, through all art forms including digital, music, theatre and fine art.

The collections show how the house was used as a family home, which was once birthplace to Lord Darnley, notorious husband of Mary Queen of Scots. Across the historic courtyard is also Home Farm, a working farm and one of the largest rare breed centres in Europe.

All the animals at Home Farm are Native to the UK and most are classed as Rare Breeds by the Rare Breed Survival Trust. As a rare breeds centre we help to ensure the continuation of some of the oldest breeds of farm animals in the country, and provide a living legacy people can enjoy now and in the future. The estate is also set within 1500 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown landscape, boasting paths and trails for cycling, walking and riding, an 18th century Walled Garden and national plant collections.

Address: Temple Newsam Road, Leeds LS15 0ADTelephone Number: 0113 3367460Website Address:

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