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Spotlight on Frieze Sculpture 2017 in Regent’s Park

A selection of modern and contemporary works opened on 5 July and will remain on view through 8 October, running alongside the Frieze Art Fairs at Regent’s Park’s English Gardens. This stunning outdoor exhibition is free and it features works by some of the world’s most famous sculptors. The opening of the fair and the outdoor exhibitions in July is significant as it will allow tourists and other art lovers to enjoy them during the summer months. The Mayor of London said that “this incredible exhibition will bring new audiences to contemporary art, inspiring Londoners and tourists alike.”

The exhibition will feature 23 international artists including Michael Craig-Martin, Tony Cragg, Megdalene Abakanowicz, Urs Fischer and Gary Hume. It will serve as a precursor of what can be expected at Frieze London and Frieze Masters fairs that open in October. Claire Lilley, director of programmes at Yorkshire Sculpture Park has selected the new and significant works that are being displayed. These 23 works, ranging from the playful to the political, “explore contemporary sculpture’s material and technical dexterity, together with its social role and reflection on the human condition and our environment,” said Lilley. The Frieze programming partner Art Fund is organizing a series of public tours throughout the summer months along with a free Frieze Sculpture Audio Tour app that features a commentary by Lilley.

Amazing works being displayed at the Frieze Sculpture 2017 include the following.

Magdalene Abakanowicz’s Standing Figure with Wheel, 1990 is a significant sculpture as it brings back memories of her oft-used motifs. The figurative elements, the wheel and the figure, are often used in her works to highlight history’s devastating onslaughts as well as the cyclical pattern of renewal. She is in the habit of using themes that reflect the aggression of crowds, and of showing personal injustice through the figures that are often headless and do not specifically reveal their gender. The sculptor had survived the Russian Revolution and the Nazi invasion in Poland but she died earlier this year.

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Scottish-Italian artist Sir Edouardo Paolozzi’s Vulcan, 1999 is a late monumental commission being a bronze edition of a sculpture representing the Roman god of fire and the blacksmith who forged his own weapons. At the Dean Gallery at the National Galleries of Scotland, you can find a welded steel edition of this subject, along with many other works donated by Paolozzi, including a significant part of his studio.

British artist, Sir Anthony Caro’s Erl King, 2009 signifies his life-long interest in abstract steel sculpture, which he had pioneered. Caro was in the habit of combining found industrial objects with literary references and Greek history.  This sculpture also follows the same pattern as it uses shipyard objects and steel welded together to create his interpretation of the subject of Goethe’s poem bearing the same name.

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American artist John Chamberlain’s Fiddler’s Fortune 2010 is another of his iconic crushed automobile sculptures that he so often creates, reflecting his interest in the use of modern industrial detritus. This is a late work, derived from a series of tinfoil sculptures he began making on a small scale. Nearly two decades after he started making these playful items, he came across a fabricator who was able to enlarge them, without destroying any of the original qualities of the material. The sculpture on display is the culmination of his efforts in using a material to play with shape and texture, finally creating a masterpiece.

British artist Sir Anthony Cragg’s Stroke, 2014 is another of his works that reflect his series of Early Forms because of their elasticity and dynamic compositions. The concept of movement and lightness is amply implied in the title of this work. These qualities are also embodied in the form that has come forth although it is cast in bronze, a material that also fundamentally belies these characteristics. Nevertheless the sculpture is quite elegant and ephemeral, while being able to resist bulky monumentality.

Rasheed Araeen’s Summertime – The Regents Park, 2017 is a sculpture that embodies the geometric patterns commonly found in Islamic art and architecture, along with the seriality and repetition connected with Minimalism. Being an engineer, Rasheed is considered to be a pioneer of Minimalist art in Britain. In this creation, you can see the rhythmic lace pattern similar to a window grille, which the artist had designed for his parents’ home in Pakistan.

Polish artist, Alicja Kwade’s Big Be-Hide 2017 shows a deeper but formal, conceptual sculptural language. Kwade investigates subjects ranging from mathematics, to physics, to magic and space through his works. The present creation is made from two rocks – an authentic stone and a cast-aluminium reproduction. There is a two-way mirror and on its opposite sides are the boulders, one side completely transparent, the other reflecting the scene in view. This work kindles imagination and arouses suspicion.

Japanese artist Takuro Kuwata’s Untitled, 2016 is a playful work that looms in the landscape, changing the environment to evoke memories of a Hayao Miyazaki film. This creation signifies a young and fresh approach to the renowned history of ceramic pottery-making in Japan. The artist employs traditional techniques to create glazes having unorthodox colours while adding rocks and stones at an outsize scale.

Apart from these sculptures, there are works by artists Emily Young, Jaume Plensa and Thomas Price that are basically in the field of portraiture. This interest can be seen in each of these artists’ works in different ways, ranging from the traditional to a more conceptual approach.

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