Ryan Gander’s Scarborough Sculpture

2 min read  ·  31 Jan 2024

HENI Talks presents ‘Ryan Gander’s Scarborough Sculpture’, the first in a new series of Public Art films

Discover a poignant, haunting work of art set amidst the windswept North Yorkshire landscape in HENI Talks’ latest film ‘Ryan Gander’s Scarborough Sculpture’, the first in a series of HENI Talks on public art.

We Are Only Human (Incomplete Sculpture for Scarborough to be Finished by Snow) is a striking 2022 sculpture by British multimedia artist Ryan Gander. Revealing the important meaning behind this mysterious artwork is Dr Jeanine Griffin, a researcher, author, and Associate Curator at UK-based charity Invisible Dust.

The work was the first to be commissioned by Invisible Dust in partnership with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust as part of a public outdoor sculpture trail along the North Yorkshire Coast. Here, the artwork is truly captured as it was intended to be viewed – integrated with its environment – contextualised by stunning footage of the rugged coastline and the medieval Scarborough Castle looming beyond.

Amid these natural and historical scenes, Ryan Gander’s monolithic sculpture stands out as a modernist enigma, leaving viewers wondering at its origins and meaning. Griffin reveals the artwork’s significant connections to humanity and the natural world, providing expert insight into both Gander’s practice and the sculpture’s deeply symbolic form, materials, and physical context. Gander’s diverse body of work, frequently encompassing public sculptures, is thought-provoking and expansive, relying on audience contemplation to fully convey its meaning. We Are Only Human possesses yet another participatory aspect, calling upon nature – in this case, snow – to complete both the work’s sculptural form and didactic function.

This first film in HENI Talks’ public art series showcases a moving work of art that reaches beyond the typical bounds of public sculpture, interacting with its environment and audiences to convey compelling messages about our future.