If you’re looking for an interesting day out this summer, then why not head on over to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park? The unique venue is playing host to a major exhibition of work, the first in the world, created by the Swiss-American artist Not Vital. Best known for his large-scale sculptures though also a major influential figure in graphics, architecture and painting, the ‘extraordinary and enigmatic’ Vital’s work will be on view until 2nd January 2017.
The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is in West Bretton, close to Wakefield, and is an absorbing, exciting and informative place to visit, made even more so by the installation of more than 40 of the artist’s key pieces, many of which utilise stainless steel in their construction. The largest museum project of its type by Vital, it carries a resonance of his native village of Sent in Switzerland, combined with his experiences as an adult in the USA and around the world.
Vital has always had ‘a sense of enquiry and wonder’, which has led him to experiment with many different types of material in his artistic process – these include glass, ceramics, marble, precious metals, coal and stainless steel, to name just a few. He is said to have an ‘alchemist-like’ touch with the materials he uses and his works explore themes of place, identity and dislocation.
One of the works currently on view is ‘Moon’, a giant stainless steel sphere that has been polished to a mirror sheen, reflecting the environment it is placed in. The work represents Vital’s absorption of nuances of culture in the many places he has visited and each crater has been separately produced after being based on actual photographs of the moon. These craters, produced by craftsmen in Beijing have been individually welded onto the main structure of the stunning object.
Stainless steel is one of the most useful and versatile materials known to many and so it is no wonder that artists such as Not Vital and many others use it in their work. Tough, aesthetically pleasing, easy to work with, cost efficient – what more could any artists want from their chosen medium?! Many artists use welding wire for sculptures. Look out for many more instances of stainless steel being used if you decided to visit Yorkshire Sculpture Park!