Yorkshire Sculpture International: Tamar Harpaz

22 June – 29 September 2019

Exhibition in Gallery 1

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.

Tamar Harpaz (b. Jerusalem) is known for sculptures that use light, mirrors and lenses. She combines them with found objects, typically from domestic environments and close to failing, into sprawling installations that at first are hard to make sense of. Yet narrative is never far away, and a movement, sound or triggered association begins to create a framework of allusion.

Harpaz initially worked in film and her installations retain an element of the cinematic. Rather than being passive and looking at a screen, the component parts of her installations are orchestrated in such a way as to pull the viewer from detail to detail, akin to an editor’s cuts in a film. This choreography brings a sculptural consideration to each of the forms she uses. She has said: ‘for me sculpture is about perceiving objects … working with their colour, materiality, shape and weight to uncover a latent history’. She is interested in the memories and meanings they potentially retain, those that emerge both from the viewer’s associations and the stories Harpaz suggests.

For this exhibition Harpaz has made a new installation that fills the gallery. The work is contained by a perimeter of electric cabling that is both symbolic and functional; it acts as a border and also a life force. Periodically, a 12 volt electric pulse unites the disparate objects before releasing them once again. Harnessing technology first used in telegraph messaging, the pulse powers electromagnets to make a circuit. Once this is completed, the objects are activated and begin to sound out a code. While this covert message remains unknown, Harpaz’s animation of the sculptural components teases a tangible, yet appropriately unstable, relationship between material culture, memory and communication.

Harpaz graduated from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, and was the recipient of the Rijksakademie Fellowship Award in 2016, and the Wolf Fund Anselm Kiefer Prize in 2013. Recent solo exhibitions include those at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and Edel Assanti in London (2018). Other recent shows include March Madness, Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen (2017); Kitchen Sink Dramaat, Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2014) and Girl-to-Gorilla, Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2012).

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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