Tony Cragg (and others) at the YSP


We went to a family wedding near Sleaford. Splendid affair, lots of catching up, lovely grub, a bit of a dance, oh….and a wedding. Marvellous.

On our way home on the Sunday we stopped off at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. We might have done this anyway, the YSP is a favourite day out for us, but this post over on Down by the Dougie definitely swung the decision: the latest Tony Cragg exhibition was something we wanted to see.


First off, however, we wandered over to the old Chapel…



Iron Tree by Ai Weiwei


There were several art works on display in the Chapel, but two particularly caught our attention. This large ‘wall’, ostensibly made of bricks, which are actually wax and have been partially melted….


And Neither From nor Towards by Cornelia Parker….


….made from bricks from a row of houses which have slipped over a cliff onto a beach.



…is an Andy Goldsworthy sheepfold which B fell off during a previous visit.


71 Steps by David Nash.


On the way home in the car we each went through our top 5 ‘things’ of the day – the bluebells in the woods featured on everybody’s list.


One of three Andy Goldsworthy Hanging Tree.

Although we’ve visited the YSP several times before, we’ve never been over to the Longside gallery. Sometimes it has been closed, or we haven’t had time, or it has been too far to walk with the kids. Anyway, this time we put that right. It’s a very pleasant walk over.


There was an exhibition there of 1960’s British Art. I can’t remember who this was by, but I liked it.


This, I’m pretty sure, is by Bridget Riley, I think I might have seen it somewhere before. I always enjoy her very geometric paintings, maybe it’s my mathematical brain.


We walked back over for a very late and enjoyable lunch in the cafe and then finally made it to the Underground Gallery to see some more Tony Cragg sculpture.


I wish I could articulate what it is I like so much about these sculptures, but I don’t know even where to begin.



A and I took a lot of photos. Choosing a selection for this post has been difficult.


I watched an absorbing documentary about both the creative process and then the fairly industrialised realisation of the sculptures. You can see part of it here – it’s in German, although Tony Cragg is English he has lived in Germany for a long time.






It’s apparent from the film that many of these ostensively abstract sculptures are inspired by shapes from nature or elsewhere. You can see that here: this small piece, clearly the viscera of some alien species…


Is, in point of fact…


….a Church!


Outside, there were several bigger sculptures.

The boys weren’t very impressed by all of this, but this…


…was a hit. They loved the distorted reflections it gave.


Our time was almost up. In our whirlwind tour we hadn’t found time to see any of the sculptures by Anthony Caro, or Barbara Hepworth, or Anthony Gormley, or any of the many Henry Moore’s dotted around the park…


Well, not properly anyway.

The kids insisted on one final visit: to James Turrell’s Deer Shelter Skyspace…


I like every bit as much as they do, and I certainly enjoy staring at the sky, but maybe we should come again when the sky is a bit less monotone…


Tony Cragg (and others) at the YSP

11 thoughts on “Tony Cragg (and others) at the YSP

  1. I went there over twenty years ago but it has come a long way since then as your super photos show. I reckon it is one of the most inspiring assets in the UK. Thanks for the post which has made me want to make a return asap.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      And this post misses out so much – a sizeable collection of Henry Moore sculptures and then other sculptures by Hepworth, Caro, Gormley. etc. We also skipped an exhibition of photographs of sculptors because we just didn’t have enough time. The walk around the park is also very pleasant in its own right. If you are heading over, the newish Hepworth Gallery in nearby Wakefield is also well worth a look. Enjoy!

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Yes – top tip that. I’m afraid I hadn’t even heard of Tony Cragg until I read your post. I thought it was an amazing exhibition.

  2. TBF visited with her mum a few weeks back. Not her thing she says but I’d love to go. I like those Tony Cragg sculptures, very unusual and like you I’m not sure why I like them

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      I saw TBFs photos on FB. I gathered she wasn’t impressed. Each to their own. I couldn’t recommend it enough. There are various films about Cragg on Youtube, also worth a look, but not as good as the sculpture. The YSP, incidentally, is always worth a visit, but the Tony Cragg exhibition still has a while to run. (If you will be in the Wakefield area anytime soon?)

  3. Every time we’ve been to Wakefield I’ve made a mental note that I keep meaning to go to YSP and the Hepworth. But we always end up at a rigby match.

    Your photos have persuaded me to make more effort.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Both are well worth a visit, in my opinion. Could you combine a morning of culture with an afternoon of Rugby?

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