A contemplative mood prevails at Frieze Sculpture this fall, the tenth consecutive year the outdoor exhibition in London’s Regent’s Park has been curated by Yorkshire Sculpture Park director Clare Lilley. To mark the occasion Lilley has brought together 19 artists from ten countries and sought a strong representation of women and non-binary artists in this male-dominated field of public sculpture. (The ratio is not quite half-half but close.) The artworks fall into various themes. Text works predominate, proffering a mix of the absurd and poetic. SPACE MIRRORS MIND (2022) is a quietly profound, previously unseen, work by John Giorno with the titular three words engraved into a large chunk of glacial granite. There are also a number of lofty sculptures which conform to the more traditional notion of monument-in-landscape. Beverley Pepper’s marvelous Cor-Ten steel loop Curvae in Curvae (2013–18) and NH Harsha’s gold-painted ladder that arcs Jack-in-the-Beanstalk-like skyward, titled Desired for – Arrived at (2021), are two such.
Mythology and folklore are present, too, in works such as Matthew Darbyshire’s sculpture Hercules Meets Galatea (2022). Here the artist gives a contemporary twist to famous portrayals of these classical figures, portraying the virile strongman as a shifting, unstable amalgamation of layers (which were in fact made from polystyrene before being cast in bronze) compared with the assured, solid form of the sea nymph Galatea who sits calmly facing him. Works that invite public interaction is yet another strand of the show. Ron Arad’s playful cast bronze sculpture Dubito Ergo Cogito (2022) imagines the base of Rodin’s The Thinker after he has got up, leaving behind just the print of his buttocks and feet; members of the public can sit in his place ruminating on the meaning of life or just watch the world go by. All in all, an exhibition that has something for everyone.
Below, the best of what’s offer at Frieze Sculpture, which runs until November 13 in Regent’s Park.