Yorkshire Sculpture International: Sean Lynch

22 June – 29 September 2019

Exhibition in the Sculpture Research Library

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.

Sean Lynch (b. County Kerry) reveals unwritten stories and forgotten histories, making work that extracts alternative readings of place, events and artefacts.

Peculiar subjects and events resurrected through Lynch’s investigations include Joseph Beuys’ visit to Ireland in 1974; uncovering illicit carvings made by Irish stone carvers, the O’Shea brothers, in Oxford; exploring socially conservative reactions to modern art in Ireland; working with the fast food outlet on the site of the first museum in the UK, and locating repurposed remnants of the infamous DeLorean Motor Company at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

Presented in the Henry Moore Institute Research Library, his project for Yorkshire Sculpture International is based on the life and work of ‘Flint Jack’ (real name Edward Simpson), a nineteenth-century Yorkshire antiquarian, vagabond and highly skilled artisan. Flint Jack sold fake megalithic axeheads and ceramic and stone carving forgeries to museums throughout the UK.

Despite their lack of historical providence and verification, these objects still populate many public museum collections. In this installation, emphasis is placed on Flint Jack not necessarily as a person, but as an active voice from the depths of history who can chart the role of the anomaly, oddity and the inauthentic in sculptural practice.

It is the first comprehensive exhibition of Flint Jack’s body of work, where objects and imbued narratives will consider the role of anomaly and the disturbance of history through material culture. The installation punctures the holdings of the Institute’s Research Library, resting within the context of its perceived authoritative history.

A publication by Lynch and artist Jorge Satorre offers further divergent views, detailing Flint Jack not simply as an individual from the past, but again as a method to grasp the encounters and juxtapositions of the contemporary world – local Yorkshire history, the development of the principles of a social art history of Leeds, a gathered catalogue of his known work and more surprising research unearthed along the way.

Lynch was educated at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. Alongside representing Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 2015, he has held recent solo exhibitions at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2017); Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver (2016); Rose Art Museum, Boston (2016); Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (2016) and Modern Art Oxford (2014), among many others. In 2015-16 he curated group exhibitions at Flat Time House, London, and Lismore Castle Arts, Waterford, and was recently Audain Distinguished Artist-In-Residence at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver. He is currently Visiting Professor of Sculpture at Carnegie Mellon School of Art, Pittsburgh.

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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