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Exhibition of six sculptures by artist Ursula von Rydingsvard on view in Venice
Ursula von Rydingsvard, Scratch, 2013-14, cedar and graphite, courtesy the artist and Galerie Lelong. Photo Daniele Venturelli.

VENICE.- Yorkshire Sculpture Park presents a major open-air exhibition of six sculptures by Ursula von Rydingsvard in the Giardino della Marinaressa, Venice as an official Collateral Event at the prestigious 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia.

Based in New York, this is von Rydingsvard’s first exhibition in Italy and extends the life and reach of the artist’s 2014 exhibition at YSP – her most extensive project to date – which included more than 40 works of drawing and sculpture in the Underground Gallery and open air. One of America’s most inventive and individual artists, with work in collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, von Rydingsvard has evolved a distinctive, highly personal sculptural language over the last four decades.

Curated by Peter Murray CBE, YSP’s Founding and Executive Director, the exhibition at the Giardino della Marinaressa features monolithic structures meticulously assembled from 4”x4” cedar beams which serve as von Rydingsvard’s blank canvas, a starting point from which she explores psychological and emotional themes. Her works do not grow from sketches or drawings; their development is instinctive and responsive throughout the making process, imbuing the works with a vital and tangibly visceral quality. Although known for her work with cedar, von Rydingsvard has explored other materials in recent years including bronze and resin, which she casts from cedar, thereby embedding into different media the textural idiosyncrasies of the wood and leaving an echo of the original material. In addition to three cedar sculptures, works in the Venice exhibition include two monolithic bronzes, Heart in Hand (2014) and Bronze Bowl with Lace (2014), and Elegantka II (2013–14), an icy blue-grey resin work that appears to alter with changing weather conditions and light, shifting from opaque to almost translucent when sunlight shines through it.

Giardino della Marinaressa is a public park located on the Riva dei Sette Martiri, Castello, the main walking route between San Marco and the Giardini, home to the National Pavilions of la Biennale di Venezia, and between the Giardini and the Arsenale. This prime site, with stunning views across to San Giorgio Maggiore, has never before been used for the display of sculpture and the project has been sensitively developed in collaboration with the Comune di Venezia. In Venice the special light quality and location will draw out new nuances in von Rydingsvard’s works, which have been sited to integrate with the distinctive canopy of pine and poplar trees, the surrounding architecture, and the sea beyond.

The exhibition has been developed in association with the Municipalità di Venezia Murano Burano, coordinated in Venice by Ambiente e Arte, and is supported by the American and European Friends of Ursula von Rydingsvard, Luciano Giubbilei and Galerie Lelong.

Von Rydingsvard studied sculpture at Columbia University, graduating with an MFA in 1975. In the same year, she held her first solo show in New York. Her work has since been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries worldwide. Her sculpture is represented in the permanent collections of over 30 museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of Art, Walker Art Center, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Storm King Art Center, and Detroit Institute of Arts. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, two awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, three awards from the American section of the International Association of Art Critics, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Von Rydingsvard was awarded the International Sculpture Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. Permanent sculptures are in the collection of the Microsoft Corporation, Bloomberg Corporation, and Barclays Center among many others.

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