Frieze Sculpture Park opens to the public

 Summertime, Regents Park, Rasheed Araeen. Courtesy of Grovesnor Gallery

Summertime, Regents Park, Rasheed Araeen. Courtesy of Grovesnor Gallery

London’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition is now open. The inaugural edition of Frieze Sculpture Park features 23 works by 20th-century masters and leading contemporary artists, selected by Clare Lilley, the director of programming at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Rasheed Araeen’s aptly named Summertime - The Regent's Park 2017 is one of the pieces. Constructed from his signature powder coated steel, Araeen’s sculpture will attract visitors with his use of primary colours and simple geometric form.

His practice dates back to the 1960s when he moved to London from Pakistan and became an early pioneer and practitioner of minimalism. It was his work as a civil engineer and an encounter with the sculptures of Anthony Caro that influenced the formal language of his work and use of industrial materials.

Later his work became more political as he championed the voices of non-Western and non-white artists and he also began to write prolifically. Now exhibited all over the world – with an interactive piece (Zero to Infinity) currently showing in the curated section of the Venice Biennale (until Nov 2017) and Reading Room being shown at Documenta 14, Kassel from 10 June – 17 Sept 2017 – Araeen’s work makes an important addition to this exhibition.

  Reza Aramesh, Action 188. Metamorphosis, a study in liberation. Courtesy of the artist and Leila Heller Gallery

Reza Aramesh, Action 188. Metamorphosis, a study in liberation. Courtesy of the artist and Leila Heller Gallery

Araeen’s earliest influencer, Caro is also participating in this exhibiton with a piece from 2009 titled Erl King. A twisted piece of rusted steel that is based on the harrowing poem of a malignant force that seeks out innocent souls, the piece is a true expression of Caro’s abstract mastery.

Also on show is a 2017 bronze work by Iranian artist Reza Aramesh. Like Araeen, Aramesh is intrigued with the hierarchical nature of sculpture but he subverts the power by choosing weak and vulnerable subjects. In this piece – titled Action 188. Metamorphosis, a study in liberation – the figure is a human with a horned deer’s head, prostrate from the waist with his hands bound above and behind him. Maybe a prisoner of war or a victim of torture, his identity is masked and we are forced to consider his purpose. The title leads us further into intrigue as we wonder how this figure will be freed.

Expertly selected, all the pieces in the exhibition are notable but I just have to give one final nod to Tony Cragg, whose relationship with the material of his sculptures is almost spiritual. He attempts to crystallise imagination and emotions in his solid forms and seems limitless potential with that. Shown here is Stroke (2014), made from polished bronze.

  •  Frieze Sculpture Park runs from 5 July to 8 October 2017, Regent’s Park, London.