The artist Phyllida Barlow shares her passion for music which reflects her sculpture in its defiance of convention and delight in surprise.
The artist Phyllida Barlow shares her passion for music that reflects her sculpture, in its defiance of convention and delight in surprise.
For years Phyllida Barlow was so desperate for people to see her sculptures that she would leave them on the street or in disused factories; or she would install them in friends' houses, using pianos and ironing boards as plinths.
Initially overlooked by museums and galleries, she was in her sixties when she found widespread recognition - in the last decade she's been invited to exhibit all over the world, and has became a Royal Academician, a CBE, and the recipient of numerous awards. Her 2014 exhibition at Tate Britain was unforgettable - she filled the cavernous Duveen Galleries with huge, gravity-defying pieces made out of timber and scrap materials which appeared to be about to topple over or to be on the point of collapse. And in 2017 she received the ultimate accolade of representing Great Britain at the Venice Biennale.
She talks to Michael Berkeley about finding success in later life, how she juggled life as a teacher, artist and mother of five, and the challenges of constructing monumental installations. She chooses music by Birtwistle, Wagner, Janacek, Webern, and Messiaen, pieces which reflect her fascination with size, scale, texture and unexpected beauty.
Producer: Jane Greenwood
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.