Great Names Abound as Part of The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture Shortlist

The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture exhibition will open on 26 October 2018, presenting work by the five artists – Michael Dean, Mona Hatoum, Magali Reus, Phillip Lai and Cerith Wyn Evans – shortlisted for the second iteration of the prize. All of the artists are creating new work for display in the exhibition which runs until 20 January 2019.

The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture recognises a British or UK-based artist of any age, at any stage in their career, who has made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary sculpture. The winner of the £30,000 biennial prize will be selected by a panel of judges comprising Sarah Brown (Senior Curator, Leeds Art Gallery), Martin Clark (Director, Camden Arts Centre), Margot Heller OBE (Director, South London Gallery) and Helen Legg (Director of Tate Liverpool) and will be announced at an award dinner at The Hepworth Wakefield on 15 November 2018.

Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield said: ‘We are delighted that each of the shortlisted artists will be showing new work for The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture. We created the Prize to encourage wider engagement and debate regarding sculpture – one of the most significant and rewarding visual art forms of our time. The breadth of work that will be on display explores the distinct approach to sculpture taken by each artist and it will allow our broad audience to experience the engaging richness of this powerful art form’.

Michael Dean will present a new installation extending the investigations of his most recent work. Dean’s sculptures begin with his writing, which he translates into physical form – from letter-like human-scale figures in concrete and steel reinforcement, to self-published books deployed as sculptural elements. His sculptures confront viewers with what he describes as ‘moments of intensity’ made from the matter of contemporary life – including doctored detritus, basic building materials, coins, crime scene tape, padlocks, and, most recently, the three-day food bank emergency allowance currently provided to a family of four in the UK.

Mona Hatoum will show two new sculptures alongside significant earlier works, revealing the breadth of her explorations of contradictions and conflicts. Hatoum’s sculptural projects use reduced physical means and shifts of scale and materials to destabilise our perceptions. In the new work Orbital 2018, the artist transforms reinforcement steel into a globe encrusted with meteor-like clumps of rubble, resulting in a work reminiscent of demolished buildings. Hot Spot (stand) 2018 is a new reimagining of Hatoum’s iconic neon globe, where the whole world pulses with conflict.

Phillip Lai will debut a group of new sculptures alongside his 2016 work Guest loves host in a way like no other. Using existing mass-produced objects as well as his own precisely fabricated forms, Lai’s surprising and poetic arrangements investigate ideas of production, consumption and hospitality. A major new work consisting of a series of stacked cast polyurethane basins will unfold across one long wall of the gallery space. Lai describes these objects as images of an ‘absurd expenditure of labour’, their accumulation invoking both the protracted processes of the artist and the construction activity implied by their cement-marked surfaces.

Magali Reus will present an installation of new sculptures alongside an architectural intervention in the gallery space. Reus’ works hint at functionality but present a material reality detached from any specific purpose. New works from Reus’ series Sentinel combine references to woven fire hoses and nozzles with more amorphous elements cast in fibreglass with metal appendages. Reus will also present four works from a new series, Dearest, which incorporate re-imagined ladders, hats and bottles in sculptural configurations that cast them as protagonists in the delivery of a romantic serenade.

Cerith Wyn Evans will debut a major new work comprising two intersecting arcs of glass crystal musical flutes suspended in the gallery space. Powered by two mechanical lungs that inhale and exhale according to a specially-conceived algorithm, the 40 flutes are individually pitched to perform Wyn Evans’s new composition. Wyn Evans often incorporates sound into his work and orchestrates his installations within architectural structures to influence the audience’s spatial experience. His interdisciplinary and multi-layered practice fuses intellectual rigour with poetics.

Visitors to the exhibition will see the artists talking about their art in a series of newly commissioned short films. Visitors will also be invited to share their own thoughts and choose their winner on The Hepworth Wakefield’s website

The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture is kindly supported by David Liddiment, Stuart & Trish Fletcher, Henry Moore Foundation, Hiscox and Mtec.

Media partner: The Yorkshire Post

IMAGE: Michael Dean. Courtesy the artist, Herald St, London, Supportico Lopez, Berlin and Mendes Wood, São Paulo Photo Henning Rogge