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Arnolfini - est 1961

Yorgos Sapountzis presents a project that creates an imaginary park of public sculptures in the galleries of Arnolfini.

With: Yorgos Sapountzis

Sapountzis often takes public monuments, such as equestrian sculptures on public squares, as his starting point – objects that represent part of the collective memory, but also form the everyday experience of a city. These sculptures become protagonists of the artists’ own performances and sculptural works. Developed in collaboration with local actors and groups, including Young Arnolfini, his works explore the symbolic energy and presence of these monuments, and involve them in theatrical actions and temporary installations. The exhibition includes a series of works that resulted from these outdoor productions.

The gallery space becomes a space between theatre and reality – with visitors as its protagonists. With simple materials, such as fabric in bright primary colours and metal sheets and tubes, the artist constructs large-scale installations, fabricated with collaborators. Referencing public sculptures symbolically, as well as literally with casts and images, the exhibition creates a different idea of public space and of our body’s relationship to the space.

The exhibition includes sound works produced in collaboration with the Norwegian musician Øyvind Torvund. During the opening weekend, a series of concerts with Torvund and others took place in the galleries.

A video the artist created from performances made in collaboration with Arnolfini’s resident group Young Arnolfini, is presented. On a series of night-time wanderings around Bristol, the group developed partly improvised theatrical tableaux which activated the sculptures with interventions, adding fabric or imitating details of the figure’s gestures, extending or confronting the sculptures in the public spaces. 

Exhibition tours

Every Saturday, 2pm, free

The free tours of our galleries are led by a member of staff, or an invited guest – an artist, writer, or curator – and are a chance to hear the personal interpretations and insights of the tour leader, learn more about the work on show, and task any questions you may have about the exhibition. All welcome.

Tweet us your pictures and comments @arnolfiniarts #theprotagonists

With kind support from The Bristol Hotel and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in London.

Download the Exhibition Guide

Download the Family Activity Guide