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Contemporary Art

Summertime and the Frieze Sculpture Park

For those of us not holidaying in far flung regions or cocooned in summertime stupor, there are still wonderful things to experience in London. The Frieze Sculpture Park, surviving from last year’s Frieze Art fair thanks to the extended permission, remains a well-kept secret. Most people have forgotten that this museum-quality array of sculptures are a delightful visit (especially for families) during the balmy summer days.

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UGO RONDINONE, SUMMER MOON, 2001

Works by 19 major artists are scattered around a section of one of London’s most beloved parks – now more serene after the bustle of the June Food Fair and other happenings which occasionally clog its rather lovely expanse. A few idle hours afforded me the time to appreciate works that I had simply not had time to see: better late than never!

Lyn Chadwick from Blain Southern is a clear favourite for me, with its typically stylized form and beautiful textures. Bowman Sculpture are also showing a dazzling Emily Young (Planet 2012) where the ignaceous rock has been exquisitely exploited to reveal a head, and a wonderful Paolozzi.

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EMILY YOUNG, PLANET, 2012

But of course I always head for the Middle Eastern works in any show, and here there is a superb, near-life-size work to draw the eye: Metamorphosis – a study in Liberation by Reza Aramesh (Leila Heller Gallery). The sculpture is the result of research into contemporary war reportage images, combined with the artist’s own imaginative insertion of mythological iconography. A diminutive bronze sculpture of a hybrid creature with a human body and an animal head which appears to be borrowed from Egyptian, Mayan or Persian art.

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REZA ARAMESH, METAMORPHOSIS – A STUDY IN LIBERATION, 2017

The subjected and violated body is imbued with a symbolic strength, transforming the figure from victim to liberated. The prefabricated block used as the plinth is often used as a device to divide borders. This sculpture Action 188 project emerged from the 4 bronze works that were previously produced at 1/3 human scale during the artist’s solo show at the Heller Gallery in Dubai in Nov 2016.

If you are prone to late summer strolls in the park, this corner of Regent’s Park is a must-see, where you can combine art and outing with seamless pleasure.