We use cookies to improve your experience online. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our cookies policy.

The interplay of sculpture and the exhibition space

Phyllida Barlow RA 'cul-de-sac'


Wednesday 20 March 2019
6.30 — 7.45pm

This event has now ended

See upcoming talks

Part of our

Phyllida Barlow RA

events programme
Go to exhibition page

Alex Chinneck, Birth, death and a midlife crisis.

Photo credit: Charles Emerson.

In this discussion our panel explores the close link that sculptures have to the spaces they inhabit, while investigating the importance of a viewer’s involvement with the work itself.

Taking our Phyllida Barlow exhibition as a starting point, we examine whether a space controls the object within it or the object controls the space? Over her fifty-year career, Phyllida Barlow has created ambitious sculptures that wholly inhabit spaces. If an artwork successfully dominates a space, does the architecture of the space simply become the decoration of the artwork? What role does human intervention play with sculpture and our movements around the space?

Panellists include Sarah Coulson, Curator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, British sculptor, Alex Chinneck, and designer, Ben Allen. The event will be chaired by Caroline Worthington, Director of Royal Society of Sculptors.


Caroline Worthington, Director of the Royal Society of Sculptors, has worked with many artists throughout her career as a curator. Previously Chief Executive of Bexley Heritage Trust for six years, she ran two historic houses and introduced a contemporary art programme, featuring the work of artists including Gavin Turk, Laura Ford, and Joana Vasconcelos among others. Prior to that she was the Director of the Florence Nightingale Museum on London’s South Bank, where she raised funds and oversaw a complete redesign and re-launch in 2010.

Sarah Coulson is Curator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. She works on the development and curation of exhibitions and projects, including Ursula von Rydingsvard (2015), Giuseppe Penone: A Tree in the Wood (2018/19), and Yinka Shonibare MBE: Fabrication (2013.) Sarah has recently curated two exhibitions from the Arts Council Collection as part of the National Partners Programme, and is currently working on an installation in YSP’s historic Chapel by Kimsooja as well as YSP’s projects for the forthcoming Yorkshire Sculpture International. Sarah works also with artists and estates to produce all major YSP publications, recently including Tony Cragg, KAWS, Henry Moore, David Nash, Jaume Plensa, and Not Vital. She has also delivered major off-site projects including Ursula von Rydingsvard at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Sarah has a particular interest in poetry and has worked with both Simon Armitage and Scottish Makar Jackie Kay on specially commissioned poetry collections and associated books. Sarah is also Trustee and Curator at Borders Sculpture Park, based at Mellerstain House in the Scottish Borders, and has commissioned temporary, site-responsive works by Steve Messam and Hilary Jack.

Alex Chinneck’s work unites the disciplines of art, architecture, theatre and engineering, pushing the boundaries of materials and their sculptural potential. Since realising his first public artwork at 28 years old, the artist has become known for producing surreal sculptures of an architectural scale that distort the world around us. In Alex Chinneck’s alternative universe the normal rules associated with materials no longer apply; wood bends, tarmac curls, stone hovers and brick melts. The artist takes pleasure in introducing sculptural fluidity to typically inflexible forms. Whatever their scale or setting, Alex Chinneck’s artworks respond to their environment, transforming perceptions of place and making the world seem momentarily magical. Alex Chinneck is a graduate of Chelsea College of Art, a board member of the Royal Society of Sculptors and an experienced international lecturer. His studio is currently responsible for the delivery of public art projects and exhibitions in India, Germany and the UK.

Ben Allen is the founder of Studio Ben Allen, a multidisciplinary design practice that operates at the intersection of architecture, design and art. It specialises in creating unique and engaging spatial sequences through a collaborative dialogue between participants and disciplines, from concept to production. Having studied architecture at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, Ben worked for Jonathan Tuckey Design before moving to Berlin. There he worked at Studio Olafur Eliasson for almost a decade, on projects including Harpa, the Icelandic National Concert Hall, Reykjavik, which won the Mies van der Rohe European Union architecture prize in 2013-14, and Your rainbow panorama at the Aros Museum, Aarhus and the Serpentine Pavilion 2007. In 2014 Ben jointly curated and participated in the exhibition Techneat at the Den Frie museum in Copenhagen. In 2017 Ben participated in the Folkestone Triennial with the work The Clearing, which is now a permanent feature of the Folkestone Artworks collection.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

Wednesday 20 March 2019

6.30 — 7.45pm

The Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

£15, £9