IT’S an art form that can be traced back thousands of years.
Now the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is to host a major new exhibition tracing stone and sculptures and the way that they were created back thousands of years.
The park, at Bretton, is showcasing Stone, which features work by artists from across the world.
The major project is the result of an ambitious three-year study by Edinburgh College of Art into traditional ways and concepts of carving and working stone.
The exhibition, which opens today, is set to run until early May.
Many of the works that are on show have been recently created.
Park spokesman Eleanor Bryson said: “An extension of the Edinburgh research was to look at the relevance of carving to contemporary art.
“To highlight the range of work that is being produced in stone, in August last year a group of 11 sculptors from across the world came together at an event called Milestone.
“Each of them made a new work as part of the Edinburgh Festival and they did so watched by the public, who were able to see them displaying traditional carving skills.
“They were able to talk to the artists and see new sculptures emerge from one-metre blocks of stone”.
Artists who took part in the Milestone scheme included Sibylle Pacshe of Switzerland, Atsuo Okamoto of Japan, Joel Fisher, of the United States, and Peter Randall-Page of England.
The Edinburgh research was launched early in 2008 when experts feared that traditional carving skills were being lost.
They spoke to artists, visited quarries all over the world and collected examples of tools and stones to create a new archive.
The exhibition includes not only the sculptures and the research archive, but also a series of films and photographs depicting stone workers, artists and sculptors.
They include vivid images of an Indian quarry worker suspended hundreds of feet above the ground by a single rope to women breaking stone using only small hammers.