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© SOPHIE RYDER LTD

MONUMENTAL SCULPTURE

One might ask Ryder why it is necessary to work on such a large scale to communicate her ideas. Two reasons spring to mind. Firstly, a lot of her work is designed with public spaces in mind and has to compete either with large buildings in an urban context, or else the grandeur of nature in a landscape setting. Secondly, and more importantly, she is most fulfilled when she is able to immerse herself body and soul into the process of making, when the work is large enough for her to move around it and interact with it from every conceivable angle, watching it grow in front of her eyes. She describes the experience as follows:

"There is something about working big that I find really exciting. It’s more physical and you get a much better feeling of the space that the sculpture occupies. When a piece is complete and I stand back and look at it, I hope to get that tingly feeling you get when you hear a beautiful piece of music. It’s then that I know I’m getting somewhere.

My largest pieces are at their best out in the open air – in spaces where they can be walked around and looked at against a backdrop of buildings, trees and sky. I also like the viewer to be able to come across them by surprise and respond to them according to the mood of the moment – whether it is winter or summer, raining or sunny.

This is one of the reasons I am so reluctant to give the work complicated titles that don’t allow people to make up their own imaginary stories.

Although some of my outdoor sculptures are massively larger than life, I still want them to have a light, airy feel. I therefore try to make sure that the wire is not too dense and that the light can still shine through, so that when they are walked around they give a feeling of movement that helps to bring them to life.

The largest sculptures have to be made in sections so they are relatively easy to transport. Scaling them up from an original maquette, bending thousands of metres of wire and bolting the component parts together takes many months, even years of work.The trick is to produce a final piece which looks spontaneous, so that when it is placed in the landscape it looks like the stroke of a brush on a canvas."

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