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KAWS

Artist

Halfway through its four-month run, the KAWS exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) had already attracted more than 100,000 visitors, the rolling English countryside a surprising backdrop to the pathos in his looming cartoon creations.

The New Jersey-born, Brooklyn-based artist – whose slouching, expressive, Mickey-esque sculptures have been seen in Hong Kong, London and Amsterdam in recent years – is presenting 20 works, including imposing sculptures cast in wood, bronze or fibreglass and a number of specifically commissioned canvases in his first UK exhibition.

“I was interested in having my larger sculptures in dialogue with each other and with the landscape,” KAWS told Cool Hunting in a recent interview. “There are so many different elements at play when you view a work outdoors and especially in a setting like Yorkshire Sculpture Park where the weather and sky can so drastically change from one hour to the next.”

The collaboration with YSP came about after curator Claire Lilley worked with KAWS to exhibit the work SMALL LIE in Regent’s Park, London in 2014.

“The way in which people responded to the sculpture in Regent’s Park was very moving. That’s when the conversation started about creating an exhibition at YSP,” Lilley told Attractions Management.

“KAWS is an artist who is serious about art in the public realm and the notion of communicating with diverse audiences is very important to us, so in that sense he’s a great match,” she says. “Some of the big outdoor sculptures had been seen in public spaces around the world, but they’ve never been seen like this – in such an intense group and in a landscape where a kind of dialogue can take place between them.”

“It’s interesting that people are getting the spectacle, scale and the sheer quality of the work, but they’re also getting the deeper messages about adolescence and transitioning to adulthood, of feeling outside things, and hiding behind masks. Many of our visitors are moved by the sculptures and I have grown incredibly fond of them,” Lilley says.

KAWS’ works on display include 6-metre-high-plus (20-foot) wood sculptures like SMALL LIE, ALONG THE WAY and GOOD INTENTIONS, the fibreglass pink rabbit sculpture ACCOMPLICE and COMPANION (RESTING PLACE) with its peeled-back skin revealing neon organs inside.

Installation of the huge sculptures posed its own set of hurdles, with tonnes of concrete being poured for placements as far back as November, so it had time to set.

“SMALL LIE, the largest of the sculptures, took around a week to install, basically starting with the feet and working upwards,” says Lilley. “We used a number of cranes and a lot of trackway. Installing six large and quite complicated sculptures outdoors in January was quite a challenge – especially when you’re trying to protect the grass around them.

Afterwards, the landscape team moved in to re-turf and re-surface the road. It was hard work but great theatre as you can see from images posted on Instagram.”

KAWS at YSP runs until 12 June 2016.

KAWS briefly worked for Disney before starting his career as an independent artist; FINAL DAYS, 2013 Credit: JONTY WILDE / COURTESY THE ARTIST AND YSP
The wood sculpture SMALL LIE, 2013, is the largest in the exhibition, measuring 10 metres in height Credit: JONTY WILDE / COURTESY THE ARTIST AND YSP
COMPANION (RESTING PLACE) 2013
Several cranes were needed to assemble the sculptures
Several cranes were needed to assemble the sculptures
Several cranes were needed to assemble the sculptures
Claire Lilley, director of programme at YSP
COMPANION (PASSING THROUGH)
ACCOMPLICE, 2010
GOOD INTENTIONS, 2015
ALONG THE WAY, 2013
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People profiles
KAWS

Artist

Halfway through its four-month run, the KAWS exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) had already attracted more than 100,000 visitors, the rolling English countryside a surprising backdrop to the pathos in his looming cartoon creations.

The New Jersey-born, Brooklyn-based artist – whose slouching, expressive, Mickey-esque sculptures have been seen in Hong Kong, London and Amsterdam in recent years – is presenting 20 works, including imposing sculptures cast in wood, bronze or fibreglass and a number of specifically commissioned canvases in his first UK exhibition.

“I was interested in having my larger sculptures in dialogue with each other and with the landscape,” KAWS told Cool Hunting in a recent interview. “There are so many different elements at play when you view a work outdoors and especially in a setting like Yorkshire Sculpture Park where the weather and sky can so drastically change from one hour to the next.”

The collaboration with YSP came about after curator Claire Lilley worked with KAWS to exhibit the work SMALL LIE in Regent’s Park, London in 2014.

“The way in which people responded to the sculpture in Regent’s Park was very moving. That’s when the conversation started about creating an exhibition at YSP,” Lilley told Attractions Management.

“KAWS is an artist who is serious about art in the public realm and the notion of communicating with diverse audiences is very important to us, so in that sense he’s a great match,” she says. “Some of the big outdoor sculptures had been seen in public spaces around the world, but they’ve never been seen like this – in such an intense group and in a landscape where a kind of dialogue can take place between them.”

“It’s interesting that people are getting the spectacle, scale and the sheer quality of the work, but they’re also getting the deeper messages about adolescence and transitioning to adulthood, of feeling outside things, and hiding behind masks. Many of our visitors are moved by the sculptures and I have grown incredibly fond of them,” Lilley says.

KAWS’ works on display include 6-metre-high-plus (20-foot) wood sculptures like SMALL LIE, ALONG THE WAY and GOOD INTENTIONS, the fibreglass pink rabbit sculpture ACCOMPLICE and COMPANION (RESTING PLACE) with its peeled-back skin revealing neon organs inside.

Installation of the huge sculptures posed its own set of hurdles, with tonnes of concrete being poured for placements as far back as November, so it had time to set.

“SMALL LIE, the largest of the sculptures, took around a week to install, basically starting with the feet and working upwards,” says Lilley. “We used a number of cranes and a lot of trackway. Installing six large and quite complicated sculptures outdoors in January was quite a challenge – especially when you’re trying to protect the grass around them.

Afterwards, the landscape team moved in to re-turf and re-surface the road. It was hard work but great theatre as you can see from images posted on Instagram.”

KAWS at YSP runs until 12 June 2016.

KAWS briefly worked for Disney before starting his career as an independent artist; FINAL DAYS, 2013 Credit: JONTY WILDE / COURTESY THE ARTIST AND YSP
The wood sculpture SMALL LIE, 2013, is the largest in the exhibition, measuring 10 metres in height Credit: JONTY WILDE / COURTESY THE ARTIST AND YSP
COMPANION (RESTING PLACE) 2013
Several cranes were needed to assemble the sculptures
Several cranes were needed to assemble the sculptures
Several cranes were needed to assemble the sculptures
Claire Lilley, director of programme at YSP
COMPANION (PASSING THROUGH)
ACCOMPLICE, 2010
GOOD INTENTIONS, 2015
ALONG THE WAY, 2013
 


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Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2019

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