Monday, 2 April 2012

The perfect spring day spent at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

On Friday, 23rd March, Simon and I decided to have a day away from work and head for Yorkshire Sculpture Park to see the Joan Miro Exhibition.  We'd been meaning to go and have a look at YSP for about a year and were full of excited anticipation about what we might find there - as if Miro wasn't enough!

Getting to YSP was a breeze;  we came off the M1 South at Junction 38 and there it was!  YSP has an interesting history, set in the beautiful Bretton Estate, once upon a time the home of knights - and playground of kings. These days it depends entirely on public donations and Arts Council funding. Parking costs £5 for the day but there are no other mandatory charges for entry.  There are a number of car parks to choose from depending on whether you want to start your tour indoors or outdoors; tickets are transferable so you can move your car around during the day - and it's even possible to catch a shuttle bus between the galleries on site. I'd advise you to just park up and walk around though.  Bretton Estate and Country Park are impressive and extensive, with beautiful woodlands, meadows, lanes, gentle hills and even a lake; and at every turn there are breathtaking artworks by some of the world's best artists and sculptors - past and present.

Anthony Caro - Promenade.  What a contrast!

YSP provides non-stop sensory pleasure from the minute you get there until the minute you leave!  Simon and I arrived at 10am and left at 6pm and still didn't manage to get to see everything - we plan to return for the Anish Kapoor exhibition in June so we can go to some of the areas we missed. 

Whatever you do - make sure you explore Basket#7! It's fab.
A particular favourite for us both was the work of Henry Moore, of which there are many superb examples at YSP.  It was lovely to be able to see his pieces in real life and appreciate the true scale of them...  to trace their continuous lines and closely examine their carefully worked surfaces.... and even lay your cheek against the curves of metal warmed in the winter sunshine.  Ah.... Heaven.

So, to the Miro.... what can I say?  Lovely.  Lovely, stunning, exciting, funny, lively, impressive.... but most of all it is just bursting with freedom of expression - and was just incredibly inspiring!

The Miro exhibition is complemented with excellent informational resources which help the visitor to get a true picture of what Miro was like as a person - his methods of working and his aspirations - but if you want to get a further insight into the legend of Miro, have a listen to Mark Lawson's Front Row interview with Miro's sons during the opening of the YSP exhibition earlier this year:

I took 300 photographs during my visit to YSP and could honestly write pages and pages about how wonderful the place is and give away all of its delights here in pictures... but that would just seem like a spoiler for the surprises in store.  So all I have to say to any reader here is:  Go!

Click to enlarge

The Miro Exhibition is on until 6th January 2013, Anish Kapoor's exhibition arrives June 2012.   Pick a nice day (don't go in the rain), pack a luxury picnic and a sturdy pair of shoes and prepare to be WOW-ed!