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RIG: untitled; stage chairs (2011)

Phyllida Barlow

timber, cement, paint (platform in 26 sections and 30 chairs)

Leeds Art Gallery The Hepworth Wakefield





Timber, Cement, Paint


230 x 429 x 350 cm


Accepted under the Cultural Gifts Scheme (CGS) by HM Government, from Alex Petalas, through the Contemporary Art Society; allocated jointly to Leeds Art Gallery and The Hepworth, Wakefield, 2021/22

Ownership history:

Accepted under the Cultural Gifts Scheme (CGS) by HM Government, from Alexander V. Petalas, through the Contemporary Art Society; allocated jointly to Leeds Art Gallery and The Hepworth, Wakefield, 2021/22
Phyllida Barlow creates her monumental pieces from inexpensive, everyday materials such as cement, cardboard, fabric, plywood and polystyrene, challenging the use of traditional materials for sculpture, such as bronze and wood. In RIG: untitled; stage chairs, which was shown as part of her first exhibition with Hauser & Wirth in London in 2011, Barlow explores the idea of sculpture as a stage, with forms based on folding chairs acting as both performer and viewer. ‘The largeness of sculpture has that infinite possibility to make one engage beyond just the object itself and into other realms of experience’, she said.

The Hepworth Wakefield and Leeds Art Gallery jointly provide a context that is unparalleled in the UK for Barlow’s sculpture. Leeds Art Gallery and the adjacent Henry Moore Institute have created one of the most significant collections of sculpture in the UK, accompanied by a rigorous research programme.

Leeds Art Gallery has a significant holding of work by the artist, from the early Hold (1989) to recent work exhibited for the British Pavilion in Venice (2017). Importantly, the Henry Moore Institute and Leeds Art Gallery have developed a productive relationship with Barlow over a period that predates her more recent critical reappraisal. Leeds Art Gallery holds eight works on paper, acquired in 2004 and 2007, which represent two distinct periods of activity: the late 1970s, characterised by monochrome, geometrical representations of interior spaces, and the late 1990s to early 2000s, which are coloured, abstract paintings more recognisably connected with her current preoccupations.

The acquisition of RIG: untitled: stage chairs provides an opportunity to represent the breadth of Barlow’s practice for the first time, considering her sensitive use of quotidian household materials, drawings and work that would emerge on a monumental scale later in her career, particularly through the screestage (2013–16), shown at The Hepworth Wakefield Sculpture Prize in 2016, and folly, for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2017.

The Hepworth Wakefield has in the last ten years established itself as one of the most important art museums in Europe. The gallery previously held no work by Phyllida Barlow in its collection, despite the artist being an important part of the The Hepworth’s story during its first decade. The co-acquisition of RIG: untitled; stage chairs enables the museum to realise an ambition to collect works by artists who have been a major part of its exhibition programme.

All rights reserved. Any further use will need to be cleared with the rights holder. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial copying, hiring, lending is prohibited. The collection that owns this artwork may have more information on their own website about permitted uses and image licensing options.

For further information, please consult our section of our copyright policy.

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