COLUMN: Behind the Scenes...with Yorkshire Sculpture Park

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Autumn is a wonderful season to experience at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and it’s a very exciting time for us because our next exhibition, Alfredo Jaar: The Garden of Good and Evil, has opened

Alfredo Jaar is an important international artist whose work focuses on humanitarian issues and human and civil rights abuse; he gives a voice and face to those who are marginalised or otherwise silenced by circumstance.

It’s a significant coup for us that he has chosen to make this project at YSP in our 40th anniversary year.

My first encounter with an installation by Alfredo was in 2002; I was struck by its power and compassion and have been absorbed by his work ever since.

His exhibition at YSP is just as exceptional – three inspiring installations that through light, architecture and photography, talk about the power of images, the ongoing refugee crisis, and grief.

They are complex, moving, powerful works that I hope will take people on a journey – physically and emotionally – through our large gallery.

Perhaps most exciting is the work Alfredo has made especially for us.

Like many of his installations, it had been in his mind for some years – an aspiration that he could never be certain would come to be – and at YSP he recognised the potential.

We are proud to present The Garden of Good and Evil, a curious woodland with a hidden secret, conjuring comparisons with the darker-side of fairy tales such as Hansel and Gretel.

The 101 trees that form part of the garden were carefully selected by Alfredo and our Estates team. They are species that are already present in YSP’s 18th-century-designed landscape and ones that suit the regimented grid formation of the work.

The hardy evergreen trees, specifically chosen to survive the Yorkshire winter, and the nine steel cells concealed within, will become a permanent part of the YSP collection when the exhibition closes in April next year.

In his work, Alfredo asks difficult questions of himself and of society, about art and culture, and about care and responsibility.

Our fantastic Learning team has developed a collection of family activities to help younger visitors explore and understand the issues raised in the exhibition.

Families can pick up a story bag and create their own stories, and sit on a rug with a story book and spend some time in the gallery with Nguyen, a young girl featured in one of Alfredo’s works.

Watch the trailer at for a sneak preview of the exhibition.

And now, you just need to come and experience it for yourself!