This summer, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
presents a rare example of sculpture in the open air by leading British artist Tracey Emin. Roman Standard, 2013, a delicate blackbird, perched atop a four-metre high pole, takes up residence in the Parks 18th century-designed Formal Garden.
Tracey Emin says: "Roman Standard presents strength but also femininity. Most public sculptures are a symbol of power which I find oppressive and dark. I wanted something that had a magic and alchemy, something which would appear and disappear and not dominate."
Standards were traditionally carried by the Roman army into battle to instil bravery in their warriors and to symbolise power. The first legion would carry a silver or bronze eagle, with wings spread in dominance. In purposeful contrast, Emins Roman Standard features one of Britains most common birds, the simple blackbird. The sculpture, although slight and whose bird disappears from view at certain angles, nevertheless has a dignified presence.
Dr Helen Pheby, YSPs Senior Curator, comments: "We are very grateful to Tracey Emin and White Cube gallery for this generous loan, which can now be experienced by thousands of YSPs visitors. Within the sanctuary of YSP, Roman Standard acknowledges the power of humility and the heroism of facing personal battles. However, the highly significant sculpture will have individual meaning for all our visitors."
Roman Standard sits amongst the majestic trees in YSPs Formal Garden, opposite the Parks award-winning Underground Gallery. The garden, designed as a pleasure ground in the 1700s, offers a tranquil location for Emins sculpture.
Emins artistic practice is one of disclosure, using her life events as inspiration for works ranging from painting, drawing, video and installation, to photography, needlework and sculpture. Emin reveals her hopes, humiliations, failures and successes in candid and, at times, excoriating work that is frequently both tragic and humorous.
To accompany the open-air work, ceramics by the artist are available to buy from YSP Shop.