Clare Lilley, Director of Programme of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park & Curator of the Frieze Sculpture Park
Pippa Jane Wielgos
Clare Lilley, Curator of Frieze Sculpture Park and Head of Programme of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, was invited last February 2012 to curate Frieze Sculpture Park London, which this year with seventeen works by leading established and emerging international artists will be the largest showing ever of sculpture in English Gardens in The Regent’s Park. Taking over from David Thorp, Curator of the annual Outdoor Sculpture Park for the Frieze Art Fair in London from 2005 to 2011, she says:-
One of her key challenges as a leading international curator fast tracked in to the role was to find “significant works that could withstand this environment.”
“I wanted to have work that reflected the “multiplicity of contemporary sculpture today” and achieve an intergenerational perspective of artists now. There is no core theme” and it is largely “aesthetic” – because of the seven month time span given to the curatorship.
“Essentially, I wanted works that reflected decidedly different artists and the ways in which artists work in sculpture today, and it is fascinating to see how many artists engage in the wider public realm outside of the gallery space.
“One of the beauties of the English Gardens is that one has this rolling established parkland with wonderful specimens of trees, based on an English eighteenth century model, carved up by paths, which logistically makes the siting of sculpture easier, with boundaries that almost function like walls.
"That is one of the reasons why the siting of sculpture in a building is easier rather than siting sculpture outside. In the English Gardens, one has the ability to show smaller works within a formal space, as there are parts of it that are more intimate and domestic.
“One of the main challenges of the Frieze Sculpture Park was to get the job done quickly. The artists are all selected from participating galleries. The other is understanding the park and respecting a given public space. I did this during the summer by visiting the park on numerous occasions and observing visitors and how they used the park.”
"I think it is extremely essential that when curating a show like this, that one engages in an understanding of how people use the space.
“My approach, was to gain an understanding of how the space functions and the way people use the space, its size, the impact and the inter-relationship of the trees – throughout the seasons – how they affect the space and how the space functions.
"It was similar in experience to when I worked with the artist Andy Goldsworthy who I observed working in the landscape....and at times almost a little like learning a musical score!
“Undoubtedly, there is a highly commercial fair, but I wanted to make something that is valuable both to the galleries and the artists, that respect and show the individual sculptures in relation to a unique environment backdrop; as a badly located sculpture can annihilate the appreciation of a work.
“One particular consideration is that the site plan in relation to the works must have key focal strengths that hold the plan in place; otherwise, it would be easy for the sculptural dialogue and experience to peter out.
“As there are three principal routes in to the park, I wanted to have a statement at each point, and draw people in, and each of these routes having their own statement, start closure endgame and one that leads people through the park.
Crucial to the structural layout plan of the sculpture park are works by Yayoi Kusama “Flowers That Bloom Tomorrow” (2011), Victoria Miro Gallery; Anri Sala, “Clocked Perspective” (2012), Hauser and Wirth and Alan Kane and Simon Periton “eight sculptures” (2012) Ancient & Modern, Sadie Coles HQ. Following on from these are the works, which are more subtle, or brash.
Four site specific pieces are made for the fair. These include Michael Landy “Self-portrait as Rubbish Bin” (2012), Thomas Dane Gallery, Hemali Bhuta “Speed Breakers” (2012) Project 88 (supported by Creative India Foundation), Adip Dutta “Nestled” (2012) Experimenter, Andreas Lolis “21st Century Relics (Composition in 7 parts) (2012); and Damián Ortega “Through / True Stone” (2012); the latter finished just two days before the fair's opening.
“Regarding British landscape art now, I believe that sculpture in the landscape has to be done so carefully. The issue of sculpture in the public realm, which I believe that Frieze artists address is the issue of commissioning of art for public places and the art of what appears in public spaces, and unless, it is done well, it should not be done because it is difficult to have an object to respect the environment.
“Frieze presents an extraordinary opportunity for people to engage in contemporary art in an unmediated way, which is accessible and does not have the boundaries that an institution immediately lays on to an experience of walking in to an exhibition.
“Battersea Park in 1948 was one of the first contemporary outdoor sculpture shows featuring Henry Moore. There were subsequent post war shows in Holland Park and Regent’s Park, and there was then the opportunity of a promise that there would be a sculpture park in the United Kingdom. Ultimately, that ended up as the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
“My roots are the value that I ascribe to a sculptural object, and for me the value first and foremost is in the object and not for whom or what it has been made for and how I think it might communicate with people.”
Clare Lilley holds a degree in the History of Art from the University of Manchester. She is an art historian and joined the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which covers 500 acres of seventeenth century parkland landscape in 1991, where since 2010 she has had the lead responsibility for exhibitions and projects, the collection and public engagement.
On-site interview, 2013.
© Pippa Jane Wielgos
Other contributions: Mutual Art: Frieze Sculpture Park, 2011 & Will Ryman, 2011.
The major artists exhibiting at Frieze (London) Sculpture Park 2017, include:-
Magdalena Abakanowicz,, Standing Figure with Wheel (1990), Marlborough Fine Art
Rasheed Araeen, Summertime – The Regent’s Park (2017), Grosvenor Gallery
Reza Aramesh, Metamorphosis - a study in liberation (2017), Leila Heller Gallery
Miquel Barceló, Gran Elephandret (2008, Acquavella Galleries
Sir Anthony Caro, Erl King (2009),Annely Juda Fine Art
John Chamberlain, FIDDLERSFORTUNE (2010), London Gagosian
Tony Cragg, Stroke (2014), Holtermann Fine Art
Michael Craig-Martin, Wheelbarrow (red) (2013), New Art Centre & Gagosian
Urs Fischer, Invisible Mother (2015), Gagosian
Gary Hume, Bud (2016), Sprüth Magers & Matthew Marks Gallery
KAWS, FINAL DAYS (2013) Galerie Perrotin
Takuro Kuwata, Untitled & Untitled (2016) Alison Jacques Gallery & Salon 94
Alicja Kwade, Big Be-Hide (2017), kammel mennour
Mimmo Paladino, Untitled (three spheres) (1989), Waddington Custot Galleries
Eduardo Paolozzi, Vulcan (1999), Pangolin
Jaume Plensa, Tribute to dom Thierry Ruinart (2016), Ruinart Champagne
Thomas J Price, Numen (Shifting Votive One, Two, Three) (2016) Hales London New York
Peter Regli, Reality Hacking No 348, (2017)
Lévy Gorvy Ugo Rondinone, summer moon (2011), Sadie Coles HQ
Sarah Sze, Hammock (for A. Albers) (2017), Victoria Miro
Bernar Venet, 17 Acute Unequal Angles (2016),Blain|Southern
John Wallbank, Untitled (Sewn Cube) (2016), Arcade Hank
Willis Thomas, Endless Column (22 Totems) (2017), Ben Brown Fine Arts
Planet (2012), Bowman Sculpture
Entrance to the Frieze Sculpture Park in the English Gardens, The Regent's Park (London) is free.