Even though Barbara Hepworth is not one of my favourite sculptors I did thoroughly enjoy visiting her studios and garden, particularly her garden. The concept of a sculpture garden is one which does excite me a huge amount. The only other time I have experienced this concept in a way that was truly memorable was the Borghese gardens in Rome. I was captivated then and I was captivated again wondering through Hepworth’s garden. Sculptures emerging from nature, living in nature, is just something beyond magical for me. When sculptures are positioned in a landscape, they exist in another sculpture in a sense. One can explore levels and viewpoints that take you from one piece to another, pathways and paving stones that do the same. Nature echoes the sculptures and the sculptures echo nature. The sculptures interact with nature – foliage embraces them, rain water accumulates in amongst the voids and so on. Nature shields and reveals them, tree trunks echo the man-made forms, branches and flowers intercept viewpoints and veil and redefine the viewing of the piece, and what the piece is? Or has become? As the seasons and the weather and the light changes, this ephemeral context transforms and the sculptures transform in how they are experienced and what they convey. I saw white flowers surround a white marble piece, in another season those flowers won’t be there to echo the colour of the marble and the cup shapes of Hepworth’s voids, but in another season, it will all be different, and who knows what you will find.
Inside Hepworth's studios