YSP partnered with Art Licks, a London-based arts organisation, to invite the four artists to spend two weeks living and working at the Park in April 2017. On the heights – curated by the Director of Art Licks, Holly Willats, in collaboration with YSP – presents the resulting work in the Bothy Gallery and open air. The works in the exhibition sensitively consider the extraordinary setting of YSP and explore the history, stories and landscape of the area, presenting a new dialogue between nature and experimental contemporary art practice for visitors to explore.
The context of the immediate landscape first listed as ‘waste’ – or in Middle English, ‘shrogges’ – in the Domesday survey of 1086, is the starting point for Frances Scott’s work, Its soil was a plot she do the tree in different voices. Each element – a 16mm projection, written score and sound installation – is experienced as a spectre of the other, as a non-linear, spatial film. The work is presented across three sites: the Bothy Gallery, Archive and 19th-century Camellia House.
Inside the Bothy Gallery, Sam Belinfante’s audio-visual work explores a disorientation of the senses through storytelling; examining sound within the territory of the visual and of the sculptural. Set in the landscape of the Park, Belinfante filmed William Shakespeare’s ‘play within a play’ – The Mechanicals’ rehearsals and performance of Pyramus and Thisbe – from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Through the work, Belinfante highlights the efforts of labourers – workers who communicate their ideas through their hands – to present a play and to give voice.
Miriam Austin focuses on the history of text and sculpture within the Yorkshire landscape by considering the ways in which folkloric narratives and practices are ‘written’ into the landscape through traces of ritual activity, architecture, monuments and earthworks. Through research into local oral traditions, Austin’s work considers the emergence and development of certain figures and narratives within them. The work prompts the viewer to reflect on the ways in which the stories we have historically told about landscapes inform the ways we conceive of and relate to them now.
Considering slippages in the manipulated landscape, Tom Lovelace’s work prompts moments of uncertainty and doubt across various locations in the Park. The Park’s Upper Lake will be the site of a large sculptural work, partnered by another sculptural piece in the Formal Garden pond and a series of photographic, assemblage works in the Bothy Gallery. Lovelace will also present a new performance work that takes the visitor on an alternative tour of the Park, in which stories and anecdotes about YSP’s history and landscape will be presented, but cannot necessarily be trusted.
On the heights extends YSP’s history of building relationships with and supporting young and emerging artists through the visiting artist programme.