Associated Matter at Yorkshire Sculpture Park



Through the Associate Artist Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture International is supporting these Yorkshire based artists to develop sculpture making in their artistic practice. The programme offers a peer network of regular workshops and crits, alongside mentoring from all of Yorkshire Sculpture International’s four partner galleries – Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield, and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Each artist presents us with a different approach to sculpture. The resulting works shown in this exhibition not only highlight the breadth of contemporary sculptural practice, but demonstrate its range across Yorkshire. This display provides an insight into the work the Associate Artists have been developing since starting the programme and also reveals the research behind their thinking:

In 2018, British artist Phyllida Barlow was invited by Yorkshire Sculpture International to put forward a series of provocations about sculpture. From her many and wide-ranging thoughts, ‘sculpture is the most anthropological of the artforms’ was selected as the keystone around which to build the curatorial narrative for Yorkshire Sculpture International 2019. The festival responds to the idea that there is a basic human impulse to make and connect with objects, and the YSI programme explores what it means to create sculpture today.

For the Associated Matter guide, the Associate Artists have revisited Barlow’s original list of provocations, each selecting one to respond to that resonates with their own practice, considering ideas such as time, space, labour, the nature of making, and what even constitutes sculpture (see below).


Bothy Gallery 29 June / 13.00–16.00 / Free

Join the Associate Artists as they present aspects of their projects, including performance and a short screening.


Sculpture must not show or tell its labour

Marks, residue, stains, and a refusal to present an artwork that is clean-cut speaks of the messy human experience of occupying a body and its boundaries.

Things are not straight forward, they are not one way, they are not total.

Representations of the figure in sculpture have stood as giant bodies of stone punctuating history and often telling a singular and narrow story about gender and sexuality. The phrase ‘set in stone’ has traditionally represented the idea of being complete and static. A single understanding which does not show or tell us about another ever-shifting situation.

A much Queerer Situation.

Stone (Butch) is my project as a Yorkshire Sculpture International Associate Artist. The title introduces the act of connecting qualities of stone, water and other aspects of nature with our gender expressions, sexuality and identity. The term Stone (Butch) is taken from butch lesbian and trans activist Leslie Feinburg’s novel Stone Butch Blues. It is used within butch and lesbian identity and is used to describe masculine gender expression.

Stone (Butch) focuses on a set of stones called The Bridestones that are situated above Todmorden in the Upper Calder Valley. I have been taking plaster casts of cracks in the stones to make the chasmschism sculptures and filming bodily interventions with water systems on the walk to The Bridestones from my studio in Hebden Bridge.

I see The Bridestones as Queer bodies in the landscape. They are Queer forms and changing bodies that are not set in stone, but revealed to us over a long period of time, as fluid structures shaped by water and erosion. These Queer bodies are as fluid as the water that shapes them and as plural as the grains of sand that erode them.

Rosanne Robertson