Vision & Reality: 100 Years of Contemporary Art in Wakefield

Virtual exhibitions and tours again. I was browsing earlier and found what should have been a great exhibition to visit. I will have to just enjoy the advertising and curators notes, until the galley opens again.

Hepworth Wakefield, into abstraction, vision and Reality
Into Abstraction, an installation, Vision & Reality, Hepworth Wakefield, 2020

Vision and Reality celebrates the vitality which exemplifies the Wakefield Art Collection. Started in 1923, and now containing some five and a half thousand pieces, this is now one of the strongest provincial collections of Modern Art in the U.K.  According to the Gallery, “Wakefield’s art collection was established in 1923 with the aim of nurturing an understanding of contemporary art and its relation to modern life”

The Hepworth Wakefield, Art Gallery, David Chipperfield, Vision and Reality
The Hepworth Wakefield 2011, Architect David Chipperfield

The Hepworth Wakefield has now been open for ten years and this exhibition can be seen as ensuring these principles continue. David Chipperfield’s wonderful collection of coloured concrete trapezoidal blocks on the banks of the River Calder came about in the partnership between the generosity of the Hepworth Trust and Wakefield’s own ambitious Riverside Development. 

Vision and Reality, Hepworth Wakefield 2020, art and Education
Exhibits from the Art and Education Room, Vision & Reality, Hepworth Wakefield 2020.

The Gallery has good memories for me as my architectural and sculptural study became the centre piece for my dissertation at Oxford University in 2018. My unusual conclusion was that as well as representing the work of both Chipperfield and Barbara Hepworth, Chipperfield managed to evoke memories of the rich history of coal mining in the area.

Vision & Reality, Hepworth Wakefield, exhibition of ceramic works by John Ward.
Exhibition of Ceramic Works by John Ward, a gift to The Hepworth Wakefield by Terry Bacon and John Oldham.

Being unable to visit the exhibition in person I thought it might be appropriate to share the thoughts of Director, Simon Wallis, and curators, Abi Shapiro and Andrew Bonacina as they preview Vision and Reality as it would have been prior to being closed due to coronavirus. 

Jadé Fadojutimi, untitled, Vision & Reality, Hepworth Wakefield 2020
Jadé Fadojutimi, Untitled, Vision & Reality, Hepworth Wakefield 2020

As well as exhibiting historical works from the collection the exhibition would have looked at the Wakefield art timeline, a room dedicated to art, education and the Hepworth Wakefield’s revival of the ‘School Prints’ programme. Other highlights include the recent gift from Terry Bacon and John Oldham of over 100 works, John Ward’s unique collection of ceramics and the most recent acquisition, an abstract by contemporary artist, Jadé Fadojutimi. 

All this in David Chipperfield’s superbly lit galleries.

Images Hepworth Wakefield, Film by Nick Singleton

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Claire Samson says:

    Thanks Gordon , it looks a wonderful exhibition. I read an article about the ceramics donated by Terry Bacon and John Oldham last year and we’d been planning a visit … Maybe later this year ?


    1. Thanks, Claire. Hopefully you will find the trip rewarding. We have been a couple of times. I do hope Wakefield have tidied up the approaches though. I expect post covid money will be tight and the Riverside project not complete. But the gallery is a gem. It one the Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2013.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s