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The Hepworth gives itself an unusual birthday gift

PUBLISHED: 00:04 08 July 2013

The Hepworth Wakefield

The Hepworth Wakefield

Copyright Guzelian Ltd. This image is supplied according to the terms and conditions of Guzelian Ltd Image courtesy of The Hepw

Birthday presents are always tricky, but what do you buy a gallery that has everything?

The Hepworth WakefieldThe Hepworth Wakefield

The Hepworth Wakefield has exceeded all expectations since it opened in 2011, clocking up an impressive 850,000-plus visitors – more than five times the original target – and helping to establish West Yorkshire as a significant destination for ambitious art, architecture and learning.

So when it came to celebrating its second birthday, a jigsaw and a box of Cadbury’s Heroes was never going to cut it. Instead, it has treated itself to a whole new contemporary art space.

The ground floor of Caddies Wainwright Mill, a 19th century former textile mill on the River Calder, has been transformed into a spacious gallery to be programmed in parallel to the main gallery. The mill is adjacent to The Hepworth and adds 600 square metres of exhibition and event space to the current offer.

Its inaugural exhibition is by internationally acclaimed and 2009 Turner Prize nominated artist Roger Hiorns, who will show his entire body of Youth works for the first time. Born in 1975 in Birmingham, he studied at Goldsmiths College and has become widely known for his ambitious and uncompromising work that asks key questions about mortality, belief and meaning.

The exhibition has been specifically planned to coincide with the Arts Council Collection and Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s ambitious summer display of the critically and publically acclaimed Untitled (Seizure) by Hiorns, further strengthening the on-going collaborative work of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle partners and consolidating the county’s reputation as an international centre for sculpture and contemporary art.

Simon Wallis, director of The Hepworth Wakefield, said: ‘We’re delighted to have this wonderful opportunity to create an inspirational new space in a historic building that will complement and enhance what we currently offer as the wider site develops.

‘It will further energise our inspiring location through a programme of renowned artists, performances, events and learning activities. This new development also enhances the regeneration of the waterfront by animating these exceptional historic mill buildings. The exhibitions and event programme will provide unique opportunities for creative collaborations and to engage with an ever-widening audience.’

Leader of Wakefield Council Councillor Peter Box believes the new development heralds an exciting new chapter for The Hepworth. He said: ‘I’m delighted to see the historic waterfront mill buildings being used in a creative and engaging way, extending the gallery’s profile by reaching out to new audiences and adding to the already great offer for our regular visitors.

‘It’s great to see the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle partnership take shape with exciting complementary programmes which ultimately provide even more reasons for visitors to experience all the world-class sculpture venues we have.’ n

To keep up to date with the latest developments at The Hepworth Wakefield, visit hepworthwakefield.org.

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