21 May 2016 – 2 January 2017
Free to all
The artist's first major retrospective in the UK brings together the work he has created in locales across the world.
The nomadic artist is inspired by place; whether that be his home in the Engadin valley of the Swiss Alps, or the far flung destinations he encounters as he travels across the globe. Abandoning the idea of having a fixed studio space, he instead spends extended periods in a particular location, devising pieces that draw on the skills and materials of local craftsmen – he has worked with steel-chasers in Beijing, glass blowers in Murano, Tuareg silversmiths in Agadez and ceramicists in Jingdezhen over the course of his 30 year career.
This exhibition spans the full breadth of his practice; in the indoor gallery are the mountain portraits and glass snowball sculptures that were inspired by his native landscape, while examples of his international creations are shown outdoors.
One of his most ambitious projects to date is the ongoing House to Watch the Sunset, for which he aims to construct the same building in a variety of locations across all seven continents. So far he has recreated the house in Niger, the Brazilian Amazonian Rainforest, Indonesia, Mongolia and Thailand, each time using local materials. On display here is the original model of the structure.
The artist has also created a brand new bridge for Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which will remain in place as a permanent feature after the exhibition closes.
During a visit to Nepal in the 1980s the artist observed how young children would often injure themselves while burning dung to make fuel, and yet there was no specialist treatment offered in the local hospital. He set about making a 1000-edition series of cow dung sculptures, and with the income he has generated from the sales of these works he was able to fund the creation of a burns unit.