Friday, July 07, 2006

Sculpture Park

One of the random attractions of Yorkshire is the sculpture park. All artists need exhibition space, in this case, the artist has set-up a very expensive looking administration building and some other modern buildings and then surrounded them with sheep paddocks. This in itself may be some kind of deep, meaningful statement by the artist but it's hard to ponder its meaning while avoiding the copious amounts of sheep shit. On the other hand, there's a definite sense of adventure to wandering through the paddocks and gardens to try and find the various statues. Personally, I didn't like them but then I far prefer classical lines to statues over modern art. I can see how it would be a good place to bring the kids to picnic though in the summer.

The best part about the place though was a temporary exhibition manipulating space and light. It's one of those experiences which is utterly amazing and when you come to trying to explain it to someone afterwards you find yourself faltering and realize that even if you draw diagrams they'll still utterly fail to adequately conceptualize the experience. So my brief description of the rooms I'm afraid is utterly selfish as it will serve to remind me (and my Aunt Dorrie) far better than it can share the idea with others.

So... the first room... a small group of about six or seven of us gathers. The guide tells us that we will need to turn the corner into a corridor; with our back to the wall we'll see a vague opening in the wall in front of us. Once we enter the exhibit room we'll find benches along the wall to our left. The corridor is dark; the entrance seems narrow (although upon exiting I realize that it's actually quite wide). The room inside appears to be of massive proportions. It's also pitch black apart from the far wall which is dimly lighted. The others are vague sounds in the emptyness. Slowly I slide forward and do eventually find the benches. Sitting, I realize that there is in fact a small very dim yellow light on each side wall. My aunt couldn't see them till I pointed them out, her glasses seemed to affect the lighting somehow. Two of the kids had found their way to the far end and were pitch black silhouetted figures at the far wall. Realization dawned and I realized that we were as much part of the exhibit as anything else. Upon reaching the far wall I discovered that the light was still playing tricks on my eyes in terms of distances. There was a barrier at waist height but the actual far wall and the light was an unknown distance ahead again.

The second room (the entire first part is exited and down the main corridor we were escorted to the start of the second exhibition) involved a dimly lighted room where we had to sit, take off our shoes and slip on white plastic covers. we could then enter a room that was completely white and slanted so that the far end was far higher and had a platform that, despite being warned away from, we of course lay on and tried to work out the depth of the drop on the other side. It was very peaceful; refelective.

The third room was dark again but had floor to ceiling angled lights that dissected the room in one shimmering barrier and beyond that we could discern another light doing the same thing but of a different colour and different angle. It was cool but we were really tempted to try and walk through the light.


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