Summer Throwback!   Frieze19, Sculpture in the Park

Summer Throwback! Frieze19, Sculpture in the Park

Summer Throwback! Frieze19, Sculpture in the Park

Once again, this year saw the annual summer return of Frieze Sculpture 2019. Running from July to October, featuring the work of 23 artists of 17 nationalities. International artists in the park included; Tracey Emin, Huma Bhabha, Barry Flanagan, Joanna Rajkowska, Robert Indiana and Jaume Plensa.

It is London’s largest free display (and I think the only one)! of outdoor art. With Regents Park the perfect backdrop for the installations.

I love sculpture in the landscape. The backdrop of nature’s canvas, the view and ever-changing mood, created by varying weather, the turn of the season and the fact that sculpture is three dimensional and you can walk around. I too appreciate ‘art for all’ and sculpture not being displayed within the confines of a gallery space, with walls. The sculptures in Regent Park are accessible, fun, quirky, individual, with a personal narrative behind each one.

Some favourites included:

‘The Hatchling’, a giant turquoise blue mottled egg, an acoustic sculpture, by Joanna Rajkowska’s, designed to be listened to. Which sat serenely on the grass under the shade of a tree emitting birdsong from within. The egg of the common blackbird, one of Britain’s most known, loved and recognised birds, along with its distinctive birdsong.

A scaled-up birds egg made from pigmented acrylic plaster, (given its colour by powdered stone mixed with plaster). Approximately 180 cm high and 240 cm long, weighing 150 kilos. The delicate surface and mottling were hand painted by the artist and from within the hollow casting emits the sound of birdsong. The sound of the chirps of a hatching chick, the heartbeat and pecking of the shell by the chick. The sound inside the egg transmits sound waves onto the shell, ultimately the egg is a membrane that carries the sound outside. It also vibrates, like when a hatchling is coming out of a shell. Art mirroring the start of life.

The egg makes us think about the birds that live with us in cities and when we pause to listen, with ear to the shell, it echoes the fragility of life, hearing the full spectrum of sounds, starting with the very beginning of life. The egg isn’t about the shape, the form, but about witnessing something being born ‘the hatchling’, a new life, something almost human, detached from us but about us being in the core of it, the heart of it. The hatchling struggling to come out, the recording of the heartbeat, evokes the sensations of labour and reminds that you are witnessing something amazing, the miracle of life.

Barry Flanagan’s hares are always a favourite! His large bronze, ‘Composition 2008’, comprises of a large triumphant Nijinsky hare (his most collected and recognised form), supported by a trio of elephants performing a balancing circus act. The Nijinsky hare is named after the star of Ballets Russes, Vaslav Nijinsky, who was a life model for Auguste Rodin and known for his exuberant dance style. Flanagan was an admirer of Rodin’s work and had an affinity with performance. Flanagan uses his hare to catch the pose of Nijinsky mid dance, adopting Rodin’s technique, of leaving his own sculptor’s thumbprint exposed on the hare’s body to enhance its sense of time and movement.

‘One though Zero’, by Robert Indiana. Indiana is best known for his iconic series of LOVE sculptures, was an America painter, sculptor and printmaker.

One of Frieze’s largest exhibited sculptures to date in Cor-Ten steel. Showing the artists fascination with numbers. The numbers had been positioned in a circle, allowing viewers to engage with the installation, walking around and inside. 

The material also known as weathering steel develops a patina specific to its surrounding environment, which continues to regenerate with the changes of weather. The sculpture has a rich rust textured colour and looked gorgeous against natures green.

The artist was inspired by the mid 19th C American tradition of narrative imagery – the cycle of life as the ‘ages of man’, represented by numerals form birth (1), childhood (2), adolescence to adulthood (3-6), old age (7-9) and finally death (0).

A selection of pics we took from the park, during Frieze.


‘The Hatchling’, Joanna Rajkowska

‘Composition 2008’, Barry Flanagan

‘ONE through ZERO’, Robert Indiana

Sculptor Focus, Thomas Houseago at the RA Installation on the Annenberg Courtyard

Sculptor Focus, Thomas Houseago at the RA Installation on the Annenberg Courtyard

Sculptor Focus, Thomas Houseago at the RA Installation on the Annenberg Courtyard

What would Joshua say!

Loved! the Thomas Houseago sculpture installation on the Annenberg courtyard at the RA, during this year’s Summer Exhibition.

Usually the statue of Reynolds is holding court, a commanding presence, surveying the scene, but this time he is dwarfed and overshadowed by Houseago’s fantastically brilliant partly human, ghoulish figurative sculptures. Which seem in part to guard the splendid RA building and be ready to march on, to defend the building, artists and arts honour!

These monumental sculptural works displayed range from large scale to smaller works. Houseago’s sculptures convey power, strength and vulnerability. He uses carved wood, clay, plaster and bronze, as well as less traditional materials like rebar (reinforcing steel bars) and hemp.

We loved the proportions, the views from all angles, the humour and personality of each sculpture. And took some cracking pics of the courtyard installation, in all weather! With the rain, one day, adding to convey another atmospheric mood.

To end, hats off, (as always) to the RA, for housing the largest open submission of art work in the world. The Summer Exhibition has been held without interruption since 1769, displaying a variety of artists, styles, mediums and genres. By both emerging and established artists. Anyone can enter their work to be considered for submission, which we think is truly a wonderful thing!

Works are selected and hung by Royal Academicians, who also exhibit in the show. Showing emerging talent, first time exhibitors, and non-Academicians together, creates amazing diversity and a showcase in London, for artist’s works. Art is in all media including, painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film.

The RA, a London treasure!

Pics © lucyb

We need a throw back to summer!  Frieze Sculpture Park

We need a throw back to summer! Frieze Sculpture Park

We need a throw back to summer! 

Frieze Sculpture Park, 

‘Holiday Home’ & ‘Shadow Stack’

Following on from our sporadic series of art & sculpture in the park! (or from far flung (ish)! places, like Matoshinhos beach). We got to view the artworks curated for the Frieze Sculpture exhibition, in Regent’s Park in August. Diverse, varied, interesting  and a vivid snapshot into the artist/s minds, and mixed media materials that they used, to convey a narrative.
The exhibition bought together 25 artists from 5 continents and it was such a joy to walk around the art, in a free exhibition, in the open air.  (And a gorgeous day to boot)! My favourites are the installations that seemed ‘just right’, in the open space and came alive in the park surroundings.
Richard Woods, ‘Holiday Home’, 2018, *see the lovely canary yellow house images. Enamel paint on birch plywood, from Alan Cristea Gallery. Impossible to live in, with no windows or doors; plays upon the idea of sought after locations and the booming market for second homes, amid a crisis of housing supply. I loved the vibrant yellow within the green grass park interior, dappled by summer sunshine. The yellow childish shape, that we all recognise and drew, growing up and the way ‘holiday home’ literally housed itself within the landscape. Inviting you in, like a Hansel and Gretel modern day house in the woods, but without the bread crumbs! A home from home.
A solid form with a sloping roof and a chimney, that suggested associations of safety and comfort.
Another installation, Sean Scully’s ‘Shadow Stack’, was a favourite too. The rusty patinered colour, (made from corten steel), against the backdrop of green, blue sky, grass and age old fir trees, again worked perfectly within the landscape. The contrast of a heavy, solid form and the openness of tree branches, was great juxtaposition. With the imperfect jutting stacked edge, reiterating the alternating stripe motif found in Scully’s Landline series of paintings. (From which the sculpture belongs to).
The colours, a huge variation of rusty dulled oranges are gorgeous, authentic, with the material being a great canvas for the changing weathered tones.
It was after reading a quote from Scully, “its about stacking, putting things in order,” that I realised that this was in part, why I liked it. ‘The stacking’, the imperfect jutting out balanced order calmed the mind and made sense to me. ‘Shadow Stack’ had a simple perfection to it.
If you missed Frieze Sculpture Park this summer, there’s more installations featured on our facebook page.
For one, we can’t wait for summer 2019 and more art in the park!
Art & sculpture in the landscape

Art & sculpture in the landscape

Art & sculpture in the landscape

Christo’s, ‘The London Mastaba’, Serpentine Lake 
There is something about art in the landscape that I love. Something that stops you, makes you take time out, look, consider and pause. Anything that can jarr you out of yourself and take you to another thought process, away from what is going on in your head, your world,  just has to be a good thing!
Art and sculpture has the power to engage your senses and make you smile. Visually appealing in genre, finish, humour, works and installations make you question why you like them and how they move you. Also there dynamic within the landscape and impact on the neighbours!
In the summer I was lucky enough to treat myself, mind, body and soul! (as it was a bliming long walk that day)! to a creative day wander and view  both the floating installation on the Serpentine and the huge variety of sculptures on the grass at Regents Park Summer Frieze exhibition. (More of Frieze in another blog).
Let’s start with the lake!
If I’m honest with you I really did not think I would like the floating triangular tolberone’esque! cube on the Serpentine.  But I loved it!! It made me smile. It literally brightened up my day. Why did I like it!
I loved how the bright form revealed its self to me, as I walked up from different parts of the park and around the lake. I loved, looking back when I departed, how through a gap in the trees and green leaves bouncing slightly in the breeze, that I could spy something that looked pink, purple, red.. what was it?
I too loved the juxtaposition and angles that opened up against other buildings, (in the eyeline of your view, forever changing as you walked), the outlined shapes. Viewed against todays traditional coloured brick and mortar boat house structure on the edge of the lake, the modern take on the
Mastaba – blocks of mosaic colour, with the solid form contrasted with the ever changing reflections over the course of time, dappled on the waters surface.
The artist Christo completed ‘The London Mastaba’, 20 metres high, this summer. With the unveiling in Hyde Park on the 18th June 2018. It represents his resolution, along with his late wife Jeanne-Claude, to follow their mutual passion for the structure and to make art free.
A mastabas is a type of Egyptian tomb, taking the form of a shape with a flat top/roof and sloping sides.  With the original construction being mud bricks, from the Nile. The meaning translates to ‘eternal house’ or ‘house for eternity’. Mastaba is from the Arabic word meaning ‘stone bench’. Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s passion for this shape, translated into the creation of the floating form, we see today. Made up of 7,506 painted barrels, the tops are a vivid purply pink, red and blue. So one side, is a candy mosaic of coloured round drum tops. With the wider sloping sides the vertical sides of the drums, in a much deeper, darker, red; punctuated with white rings. The deeper red suggests the colour of conventional roof tiles, en masse and part of me wonders how jolly it would be for the artist to work on a building project with a developer today.
The colours chosen vibrate, contrast and reflect in the ever changing light and stand out amongst the park colours, that we all recognise.  Shadows of the Mastaba float on murky dark Serpentine water, where wild water swimmers can barely see an arm stroke in front, as it hits the opaque surface. The structure is such an anomaly, on the waters surface, but it just works!  You would think, as if by magic, that it floats – but scaffold and anchoring secure the structure in the lake.
An amazing project that was self funded, with funds from the sale of their original art.
Christo quotes ‘I won’t give a millimetre of my freedom (away) and damage my art,’ in relation to his freedom and independence from galleries and patronage.
He is indeed a free artist who is not confined by commissions. In todays art world it is a pleasure to hear an artist who lives by his own rules.
I hope you got to see The London Mastaba, one fine day this summer.

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