- Media category
- Materials used
- steel armature, polystyrene, polyfiller, papier mâché, paint, PVA, sand, plywood, timber, varnish
- 360.0 x 480.0 x 330.0 cm
- Signature & date
Signed l.l. Certificate of authenticity, black ink "Phyllida Barlow". Not dated.
- Gift of Geoff Ainsworth AM and Johanna Featherstone 2017
- Ainsworth Family Gallery
- Accession number
- © Phyllida Barlow
- Artist information
Works in the collection
Now in her early 70s, British artist Phyllida Barlow CBE is finally receiving the accolades she has long deserved. Like a number of women artists of her generation, recognition and critical acclaim has come late in her career, but this has not deterred her from building what is an extraordinary body of work that prises open the language of sculpture. Her works can be fallen, fatigued, unsure, as well as colossal, upright and audacious. Like structures that have outlived their moment of grandeur, their scrappy surfaces and collapsing forms occupy space with a dominating physicality and an affection for surprise. With an array of materials that sound like the leftovers of a construction site — concrete, wooden scaffolding, polystyrene, pallets, rope — Barlow creates large scale works that interrogate the discipline of sculpture, from the way it is made to the way it looks and the way it is experienced.
‘untitled:brokenupturnedhouse’ is one of three works that Barlow based on upturned houses. As she explains: ‘The upturned house had a very specific starting point: I was listening to a program on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina … one account in particular really struck me … It was a man who went to find his house after the great assault of the flooding river ... He knew where to go exactly but the further he went towards the streets where he lived, the more flattened they were and absolutely drenched in this thick, thick silt. But then he saw his house, and he didn’t mention the word ‘house’, he mentioned the word home … he approached it and he realised the whole structure had completely turned upside down and his home was resting on its roof. It was the description he gave of encountering this familiar thing in a completely unusual way, in a devastating way, and to me, the poetry of his description was exactly like somebody would describe sculpture – where you can’t name the object that you are looking at, but your way of encountering it, or walking around it, creates an entirely new description of the experience you are having. I thought it was incredibly moving and it was a trigger of thinking of upturned objects and the way you might flip something over and it becomes a completely different thing.’
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Phyllida Barlow: HOARD, Norton Museum of Art, Florida, 02 Dec 2013–24 Feb 2014
Phyllida Barlow: mix, Kunsthalle St Gallen, Switzerland, 21 Aug 2015–08 Nov 2015
Spacemakers and roomshakers: installations from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 14 Jul 2018–21 Oct 2018
Dreamhome: stories of art and shelter, Art Gallery of New South Wales, North Building, Sydney, 03 Dec 2022–17 Sep 2023
Referenced in 1 publication
Fiona Bradley (Editor), Phyllida Barlow. Sculpture 1963-2015, 2015, 151-152 (colour illus.).