Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) presents a new site-specific commission by artist Holly Hendry in The Weston Gallery. One of Britain’s most exciting young sculptors, Hendry has created The Dump is Full of Images, which incorporates a revolutionary, rotating band of ‘skin’.

In developing her YSP project, Hendry has drawn from the expertise of Parik Goswami, Professor in Technical Textiles at the University of Huddersfield’s School of Applied Science. Professor Goswami is also in the management group of the university’s Institute of Skin Integrity and Infection Prevention. Professor Goswami’s research includes bringing new materials into existence, such as synthetic skins, and others that can save lives.

The new material – made from artificial skin substances mixed with aggregates of reused plastics which used to be objects – that Hendry has developed is conveyed relentlessly around a steel structure within the gallery space, being pulled, stretched and squeezed to reveal images and objects embedded within it. The imagery and textures refer to the underneath: anatomy, food and detritus. The things that humans process and fill the world with, from the ever-growing body of used plastic to our own bodies, the relics of lives lived. Hendry’s interest in skin embodies her exploration into containers – the physical properties of different materials, but also their non-physical associations. This is most evident in her research around the reliquary (container of holy body parts) as the definition of bodily fragments – from Saint Lucy’s eyes to St Thomas’ finger – they represent a grisly recycling of parts which represents the ultimate hierarchy of materials – what is rubbish and what is venerated?

“I want to examine the way material things can speak of hidden forms and higher realms – about a specific history or about the immaterial through sheer stuff. I would like to create a continual, rotational autopsy where body and spirit, organs and rubbish, coalesce through the architecture of the space.” The ghostless machine that animates the inanimate in perpetual movement creates a moving sculptural form, like an ever-changing mural, that travels low along the ground then sweeps up into the vaulted roof space in a steady, regurgitating metaphor for the perpetual loop of life.

YSP is committed to supporting artists at every stage of their career to develop their practice. In 2018, Hendry became the first artist commissioned to create work for Selfridges’ Art Block, a permanent destination for sculpture within the London store, co-curated by YSP’s Head of Curatorial Programme, Dr Helen Pheby.