The project is a collaboration between the RCA, Wandsworth Borough Council, Enable, Friends of Battersea Park and The Battersea Society, and the students’ sculptures will be on display in the park from June to September this year, rotating every few weeks. The contributing students are delivering their projects with guidance and support from Jaspar Joseph-Lester (Head of Programme, MA Sculpture), Joanne Tatham (Reader in Contemporary Art), Hannah Lambert (RCA Community Engagement Manager) and Anna Vickery (Arts Programme and Partnership Manager, Wandsworth Council).
Barbara Hepworth, who graduated with a Diploma in Fine Art from the RCA in 1923, made Single Form (Memorial) in response to the death of her friend, Dag Hammarskjöld, Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1953-61, who died en route to a peace mission in Africa. The bronze in Battersea Park was cast from a plaster prototype to be exhibited as part of London County Council's (LCC) 'Sculpture: Open-air Exhibition', held in Battersea Park from May to September 1963.
Jaspar Joseph-Lester, Head of Programme, MA Sculpture, RCA, said:
‘We are delighted to have such a prominent public platform for our MA Sculpture students to produce contemporary and site specific works that respond to the conceptual, formal and historical framework of the Park as a public, open and green space in Wandsworth.’
Sophie Bowness, the Barbara Hepworth Estate and Guest Curator of Barbara Hepworth in the Rijksmuseum Gardens, said:
'I’m delighted that, while Single Form (Memorial) is on show in Amsterdam, a very imaginative programme has been devised for its site in Battersea Park this summer. Barbara was herself a sculpture student at the RCA in the 1920s so this project has an extra resonance. She also tried to support younger artists in St Ives whom she admired. I look forward very much to seeing the work of this new generation of sculptors.'
By Gabriel Mansfield, Shirley Renwick, Yuqing Shi and Yue Yin.
On display from week commencing 6 June 2022.
This sensory dome has been inspired by the circular void that punctuates Barbara Hepworth’s Single Form (Memorial) sculpture. The dome provides multiple viewpoints to witness the activity of the surrounding area, by peering through to the opposite side or upon the tessellated mirror surface. The form of the structure echoes prehistoric human round houses or bird nests – where perhaps a sense of security stems from the ability to look out in all directions. The voids allow the environment to pass through – light and wind, flora and fauna. The dome is entirely constructed from recycled or repurposed materials. From the 3-metre steel frame that once sat in a children’s playground, to the mirror cladding that once lined the hallways of the Royal College of Art. The Locuscope amalgamates the word ‘locus’ with the suffix ‘scope' to describe a device that encourages a contemplative examination of its location.
The Visible Invisible
By Blythe Plenderleith, Carlota Bulgari, Junchao Ren, Ioana Maria Sisea, Sarra Badel and Ziwei Wang.
On display from week commencing 4 July 2022.
This project plays with the viewer’s perception of absence and presence using the technique of lenticular printing. The sculpture deals with ideas of memory, time and nostalgia, as images appear from one angle but become invisible from another.
Memorial for a Memorial
By Francesca Dobbe, Shiyao Liu, Christopher Simpson, Annie Trevorah, Yunpeng Wang and Jasmin Saya Young.
On display from week commencing 25 July 2022.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the completion of Hepworth’s Single Form (Memorial) in February 1962 – Memorial For A Memorial installation will pay tribute to Hepworth through a concept based on the empty space left behind from the absent sculpture. Drawing inspiration from the negative space, the group focuses on the hole/circle as a window to nature to maximise the view across the lake and by incorporating a shaped bench, the sculpture invites interaction from the public. The bold red structure is made from recycled wood.
Celebrate the unveiling of Memorial For A Memorial with RCA students and a special guest for a poetry reading and open mic session in Battersea Park on 28 July. More event information can be found here, via Eventbrite.
By Irena Posner, Aliya Orr, Duoduo Huang, Veronica Smith and Yuanze Che.
On display from 6–26 September 2022.
Starting from Barbara Hepworth’s ideas around utopian, spiritual and metaphysical relationships of humanity to nature, Making Marks will explore animal interactions with the arts through a vertical grass-based sculpture that dogs can engage with on their daily walk through Battersea Park.
By Jacob Talkowski, Alice Dawson and Rachel Bungey.
On display from 27 September – 17 October 2022.
This piece is a series of three laser cut acrylic mirror sheets held in the open air above a ‘platform’ by individual industrial steel scaffolding tubes. The group hopes by bringing the local natural world of the park into focus, they will help break down the climate crisis from a large structural issue to something local and relevant to a group who may be dealing with strong feelings of climate anxiety.
Sites & Situations: While the Hepworth was Away
In July 2023, the publication Sites & Situations: While the Hepworth was Away was published by Plaintiff Press, exploring the six-month sculpture project at Battersea Park.
This publication brings all five projects together, not as documentation of what has been, but as an insight into the complex nature of public art commissions and the commissioning process as a whole. This publication is a reflection on the discussions, logistics and collaborative partnerships, bringing to light the less visible behind-the- scenes interactions and creative process that led to the ambitious outcomes of five sculptures that, for a time, stood While the Hepworth was Away, bringing a new awareness of Single Form (Memorial), Battersea Park and open civic space in general.
This artist book publication is a limited edition of 110. It is a handbound concertina with double saddle stitch booklets, bespoke wallet and set of five postcards.