Until 7 October 2018
There are 25 artists in Regent’s Park for the second summer, represented by some of the top-class galleries in Britain and around the world, selected and curated by Claire Lilley, the Director of Programme at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Richard Woods Holiday Home is the first piece one sees when one enters the park from the south, and is a beach-hut sized cartoon house in bold colours, simplified windows and door, outlined in black. He had previously plonked his Holiday Homes on beaches and cliff-tops, which is meant to comment on the wealth gap, immigration, the housing crisis and other social and economic issues in south-east England. The tallest work is a 14-metre-high tower A Needle Woman: Galaxy was a Memory, Earth is a Souvenir, by South Korean artist Kimsooja, and the smallest are Laura Ford’sDancing Clog Girls I-III, a disturbing trio of black bronze, masked bergères whose clogs have developed roots, the very antidote to those cute ‘Alice in Wonderland’ garden sculptures.
Barry Flanagan became a bit of a one-trick pony by the time he died nine years ago, with a seemingly endless production of prancing hares. On show in the Park is a seven-metre-high Large Nijinski on Anvil Point, a dancing hare atop a gigantic anvil. The American artist John Baldessari has produced a rather bland and pointless self-portrait Penguin, which measures 2-metres, while Kiki Smith has a somewhat awkward, hydrocephalic white sculpture of Alice called Seer (Alice I), with her legs flying out from under her dress behind her almost as an afterthought. She explains that she ‘reflects on contemporary female sensibilities’, whatever that means. The least successful and in-yer-face work is James Capper’s ‘Treadpad B – Pair 2 Walking Ship 40 Ton Standard Displacement 4 Leg (DIA 1800), a number of bright orange ‘things’, in metal slings, which is not only ugly, but meaningless. Tracey Emin has five small bronze birds on 4-metre poles, entitled A Moment Without You, which she says ‘continues to spread its message of hope; connecting people who are far away from each other but remain together in their minds and hearts’. Simon Periton has a large, edge-painted, tracery leaf called Outdoor Miner, which changes colour as one walks around it, while Monika Sosnowska’s Rebar 12 is a knotted mass of steel rods, that is all but lost in the trees amongst which it hangs. Virginia Overton’s, Untitled (122 x 244 View) is a steel framework with densely stacked pipes in varying diameters and metals, which is most satisfying. Sean Scully has gone back to sculpture after years of producing monumental paintings. Shadow Stack comprises a pile of large square steel plates oxidised to a yellow ochre hue. Another piece that uses light to great effect is Rana Begum’s No. 814, 2018, The Third Line, a structure made of sheets of coloured glass, but it is the effects of light cast by the overlapping layers that are constantly changing and lend the work an ethereal quality.
Elmgreen & Dragset’s Si par une nuit d’hiver un voyageur is a black bronze sculpture of a vulture perched on the branch of a dead tree, known as ‘The Critic’. On 16 August 2012, police fired on striking mineworkers at Marikana in South Africa who had demanded a wage increase at the Lonmin platinum mine, killing 34 of them. In Haroon Gunn-Salie’s Senzenina, two headless men represent the cowering figures as the police opened fire. Conrad Shawcross has produced a sort of maze, entitledOptic Labyrinth (Arrangement I), comprising numerous metal screens that catch the light and cast patterns on each other, while Dan Graham has made an optical pavilion called London Rococo that obscures and reflects the viewer. One annoying, but no doubt necessary addition, is of little rope cordons around each piece, which were not in situ at the launch and do nothing but detract from the works.