Yorkshire Sculpture International: Maria Loboda

22 June – 29 September 2019

Exhibition in Gallery 3

From new work by international artists to sculpture drawn from world-class collections, this festival across Leeds and Wakefield showcases sculpture in all its forms.

Maria Loboda makes work that has been described as performing a kind of anthropology. Inspired by its methods, alongside an interest in linguistics and archaeology, she unearths obscure histories and objects to unravel humanity’s failed attempts to explain the universe through material culture. Through her work, Loboda subverts the historical application of meaning to objects by creating new combinations, all the while enjoying the fallibilities of history, memory and records.

Despite her concern for objects Loboda typically starts with words, first selecting a term, phrase, action or title. For Yorkshire Sculpture International she has created an installation called The Chosen. The act of choosing is one at the heart of any debate around anthropology and its methods – what is selected and by whom. Ultimately, the act of collecting, or ‘choosing’, reveals as much about the selector as the selected, and is always the result of circumstance: time, resource, personality and so on.

Six lamps, each made from alabaster, hang high on the wall in the gallery. Giving out a subtle light, their initial allure stands at odds with their arrangement and, especially, their contents. Inside each lamp, a series of preserved exotic insects from around the world is seen in silhouette. They are specimens that have each been chosen, but for why and for what remains unclear. Inspired by a 1920s design by Pierre Chareau (1883–1950), the lamps form what the artist describes as ‘a beautiful ritual vessel for the insects now entombed within them: they lend gravitas to this dysfunctional environment I’ve created’.

Loboda studied at Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Städelschule, Frankfurt. Recent exhibitions include To Build a Business that will Never Know Completion, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City (2019); Sitting Here Bored Like a Leopard, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (2018) and Volcano Extravaganza 2016, Fiorucci Art Trust’s annual festival on Stromboli.

About Yorkshire Sculpture International

Yorkshire Sculpture International is delivered by the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle made up of the Henry Moore Institute, The Hepworth Wakefield, Leeds Art Gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. It showcases the breadth and diversity of contemporary sculptural practice, inspiring audiences to rethink what they understand the form to be.

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Yorkshire Sculpture International in Leeds
Video credit: Film by Nick Singleton

At the Henry Moore Institute, Phyllida Barlow’s assertion that ‘sculpture is the most anthropological of the art forms’ brings together five extraordinary artists whose work looks at the relationship between material culture and an understanding of human history, present and future.

Within the trajectory and methods of anthropology lie the foundations of history and all social sciences. Objects play a pivotal role in that framework, with material culture often made to function as a form of black box recorder that can play back history, identity, belonging and difference. The exhibition at the Institute reflects upon this responsibility of objects.


Venue details

Venue address

Henry Moore Institute
The Headrow
United Kingdom
T: 0113 246 7467

Opening times

Galleries: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am - 5pm

Research Library: Monday to Saturday, 10am - 5pm; Sunday, 1 - 5pm
Archive of Sculptors' Papers: Tuesday to Friday, by prior appointment

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