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