The Norm Can Conform

The opinions you never asked for on the subjects you’re not bothered about.

Our Annual Trip To The Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Parks’ most notorious alcoholic visitors have returned for their annual fiesta! I think our little tradition started maybe 4 years ago for our friend Jamie’s birthday. Each year we manage to take more and more prosecco, wine, cider and snacks because outdoor art should only ever be appreciated while tipsy.

Venturing down to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park always feels like a nice little reunion. Our group doesn’t get the chance to see each other very often so it’s nice to come together here. Art is scattered all over the 500-acre land and you’re sure to see a few sheep, ducks and even a few fuzzy cows if you’re lucky.

If you’ve never been to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, I would strongly recommend it. Even now, yes, it’s cold outside, but the current pieces on display are excellent. There are lots of brilliant new artworks for your viewing eyes as well as a lot of brilliant permanent pieces such as the Henry Moore sculptures.

Wilsis by Jaume Plensa
Jaume Plensa: Wilsis

One of my favourite pieces at the park is this beautiful 3D (yet squashed to appear almost 2D) head called Wilsis by Jaume Plensa. The sculpture stands at over 7 meters tall and you see it from across the river. When you head over the bridge and get nearer, you notice that it’s actually squashed and it creates a bizarre illusion.

Jaume Plensa: Wilsis

Every Yorkshire Sculpture Park voyage starts in the Underground Gallery

Giuseppe Penone: A Tree in the Wood
Giuseppe Penone: A Tree in the Wood

One of my favourite spaces at the YSP has to be the Underground Gallery. Each time we’ve been here, the work has been so drastically different which always makes this space feel new and fresh.

This year, we saw Giuseppe Penone’s ‘A Tree in the Wood‘ and it was one of my favourite pieces to be displayed here. There was such a large quantity of art and sculpture from Giuseppe and each piece felt different but cohesive with what was around it.

Of course, some of the bigger pieces made for great photobombing opportunities.

And some nice backdrops for pictures as well.

Each piece in the gallery was so graphic and filled with texture. The colours were very earthy, lots of browns, greys, blacks and whites.

It was a definite highlight this year, for sure.

Did I mention we like taking pictures in front of the artwork? Here’s Niamh sat in front of a lovely pile of spuds.

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Creepy Baby Faces #yorkshiresculpturepark #ysp #weblognorth #yorkshire

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Then, as our tradition starts, once we exit the Underground Gallery, we pop the cork on the champagne! And the first piece we stumbled across this year was the Ha-Ha Bridge by Brian Fell.

Brian Fell: Ha-Ha Bridge

Of course, this meant that I was going to get a miserable looking photo aboard the bridge… I couldn’t resist.

As per, there were a lot of lovely outdoor sculptures

These cracked trees that had been painted gold on the inside were lush – I thought they glistened in the sunlight beautifully and they really stood out in their natural surroundings. I hadn’t seen these here before, but I think they’re possibly one of my favourite pieces now.

Another piece that always grabs my attention when I venture to the YSP is Dennis Oppenheim’s Trees: From Alternative Landscape Components. Seeing this field of around 5 different trees with branches made up of toilets, sinks, dog houses, dustbins and other man-made constructions feels juxtaposed in the large field where it resides.

Dennis Oppenheim: Trees: From Alternative Landscape Components

Bretton Park’s Camellia House is another staple of our escapades

We’ve always enjoyed venturing to the greenhouse, it’s a beautiful building, inside and out. The glass, the brickwork and surroundings make it feel really unique and quaint.

Bretton Park’s Camellia House

Sadly, it wasn’t fully accessible to the public due to maintenance work. We could go in, but we couldn’t walk much further than the entrance before we were faced with a barrier.

Bretton Park’s Camellia House

I did still manage to get a quick snap of the inside though. Just outside of the greenhouse is another iconic sculpture at YSP – Sitting by Sophie Ryder.

Sophie Ryder: Sitting

Who would have thought that a rabbit could make you shout ‘dat ass!’? I certainly didn’t, but I do still love this piece. It’s been here since I first came to visit the park which would have easily been about 7 years ago. Then, of course, we ventured around the more isolated parts of the park, seeing the Anthony Gormley sculpture, a few other big ironwork pieces and Lady Eglinton’s Well – which of course, we had to clink a glass in front of, it’s a tradition… She was a classy lady I heard.

Lady Eglinton’s Well

Unfortunately, by this point, most of the good alcohol had disappeared so we were left to ‘cheers’ her with Bucks Fizz and Strongbow.

The Chapel

By far, one of the most stunning locations at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park has to be the chapel gallery. Yes, this is a working chapel and it would have been a private mini church for the family who resided at Bretton Park. As we have seen for quite some time now, Ai Weiwei’s Iron Tree greets you as you walk through the big iron gates into the churchyard.

Ai Weiwei: Iron Tree

This tree is probably one of Jamie’s all-time favourite pieces at YSP. But one thing we both love is venturing into the chapel as the artwork is always incredibly different each time we enter. This year, we were certainly not disappointed! We’ve seen some beautiful pieces of video art swarm the chapel as well as soundscapes and this year we had an installation that literally filled the room from top to toe.

Chiharu Shiota: Beyond Time

Chiharu Shiota: Beyond Time

Using 2,000 balls of thread, Shiota’s installation of white webbing made from wool captures the whole inside of the chapel. We see the webs appear to burst through the top of this metal framed piano sculpture. The webs also contained hundreds (if not thousands) of paper which turned out to be sheet music. But not just any music, music from the chapel’s archive. Honestly, the whole piece was stunning and we all found ourselves silently wandering around the chapel for quite some time taking it all in.

Chiharu Shiota: Beyond Time
Chiharu Shiota: Beyond Time

It was also the first time we have visited where they have opened up the upstairs which felt like a real treat. To be able to sit in the tiny pews looking down at the altar in this gorgeous private chapel honestly was a dream. To make it better, looking directly forward just emerged you into the thousands of pieces of string even more. By far, this was my favourite piece we saw this year. So there we have it. I took a lot more photos but I didn’t want to bore you all. I may throw a few out on my Instagram. If not, let’s see what new treats they have in store for us next year!

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Sean Scully: Inside Outside #yorkshiresculpturepark #ysp #seanscully

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Harry J Bartlett

Digital Content Creator, lover of fashion, drag queen connoisseur and all around phenomenal human being. If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would say; Gorgeous, Talented and Humble.

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