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The Ultimate Form: Hepworth Wakefield and Northern Ballet

Press release date 
Fri 19 Apr 2013


Artist Linder Sterling, known for her iconic Buzzcocks’ artwork, presents a new performance on Saturday 11 May, inspired by the legacy of Barbara Hepworth

The Ultimate Form is a ‘living collage’ - fusing dance, music, fashion, art, sculpture and landscape

Key collaborators include The Cinematic Orchestra guitarist and composer Stuart McCallum; Northern Ballet dancers and award-winning choreographer Kenneth Tindall, plus British fashion designer Richard Nicholl and Wigan Young Souls

Rare opportunity to experience one of only four octobasses in the world, to be played during the performance

The culmination of Linder’s exhibition of new work at The Hepworth Wakefield, on display until 12 May


Leading contemporary artist Linder will present the UK premiere of her new performance work, The Ultimate Form at The Hepworth Wakefield on Saturday 11 May, from 2pm.

The Ultimate Form will be an outdoor performance taking place in the gallery gardens.  At the heart of the performance is a ballet by Northern Ballet’s award-winning choreographer Kenneth Tindall, with a musical score by Cinematic Orchestra guitarist and composer Stuart McCallum and ballet costumes by Richard Nicholl.

Bringing together multiple collaborators and participants Linder hopes to 'develop a creative Esperanto' that will fuse dance, music, fashion, art, sculpture and landscape into a ‘living collage’, elements derived from the artist’s research into the life and work of Barbara Hepworth.

The Ultimate Form is the culmination of Linder’s current exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield on display until Sunday 12 May 2013 and follows the success of her major retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

This will be the first time The Ultimate Form has been performed in full, with integral performances by South Asian Arts UK, Wakefield City Soul Club, Horbury Victoria Brass Band, dancers from Wigan Young Souls and a rare opportunity to experience one of only four octobasses in the world.

The Octobass for the 21st Century (Version I)was the winner of the Latitude Contemporary Art (LCA) Award and Exhibition 2012.  TheOctobass is a radical departure in terms of form and structure from its 19th Century predecessors, being more sculptural and minimal, creating a range of sounds with the lowest notes inaudible to the human ear with sound experienced viscerally in the body.

Linder Sterling (b. 1954, Liverpool, UK) has been working with the principles of collage for over three decades and first gained attention through hericonic Buzzcocks posters and record sleeves of the late ‘70s in which she collaged pornography with catalogue images of domestic objects such as irons, televisions and record players.

Linder re-encountered the work of Hepworth while participating in The Dark Monarch exhibition at Tate St Ives in 2009 and has pursued this in relation to both Hepworth’s sculpture and the tenacious conceptualisation of Hepworth’s artistic identity. The research conducted over the past three years has resulted in significant areas of interest: the use of strings in sculpture and music; the importance of dance to Hepworth who practiced ballroom dancing and whose final studio was in an old dance hall: and the use of sculpture as a form of ventriloquism for Hepworth.  Each of the collaborators, performers and participants for The Ultimate Form has been approached because of their specific relation to, or existing interest in, these key themes.

Hepworth’s statement: “I am one of the few people in the world that can speak through marble” resonated with Linder as an artist who has always integrated music and performance as part of her art.  Recognising herself in the role of ventriloquist, Linder felt she could give a new voice to Hepworth through her exhibition and performance.

She explains: “The legacy of Barbara Hepworth provides the discrete pulse for this new work. It feels vitally important at this point in my life to loop back to the generation before my own, to British female artists in particular and to bring to consciousness and expression the unexamined aspects of their work”.

Kenneth Tindall, Northern Ballet choreographer added: “Working on The Ultimate Form has been a phenomenal experience for me. It has challenged me as a choreographer and taken me outside my own comfort zone. We have created something that I think is truly unique and very hypnotic. I hope the result of this collaboration will intrigue people and leave them feeling that they have been part of something that is wholly original.”

Linder’s exhibition is one of three spring exhibitions at The Hepworth Wakefield on display until 12 May, featuring new work by contemporary artists also including Jessica Jackson Hutchins and Alice Channer.For more information visit or call 01924 247360.  

Summer 2013opens on Saturday 18 May at Tate St Ives, and as part of it, Linder brings together a group of her own collages with the sculptures and personal effects of Barbara Hepworth. Drawing on her research into Hepworth’s life and work, Linder draws out the aspects of performance in Hepworth’s sculpture, through parallels to her own radical, feminist practice. Alongside her exhibition, a video of Linder's centrepiece ballet from The Ultimate Form will also be screened. It is anticipated that a performance of The Ultimate Form at Tate St Ives will be staged in early 2014.

New collages by Linder feature alongside new sculptures by Tom Burr in a two-person exhibition on display until 25 May at the new Modern Art/Stuart Shave gallery spaces 6 Fitzroy Street, London.

Frau/Objekt, a retrospective of Linder’s work opens at the kestnergesellschaft in Hanover, Germany on 5 June. 



For further details, interviews and image requests please contact:
Naomi Roberts  T: +44 (0)1924 247392 / E:
Sarah Forrest    T: +44 (0)1924 247363 / E: 


The Ultimate Form 
will take place in The Hepworth Wakefield's gallery garden come rain or shine, feel free to bring your own seating or picnic blankets.The performance will last approximately 90 minutes.  The event is FREE, but booking is essential, email or call 01924 247360 to reserve your place today.

The Emerald Foundation, The Ofenheim Charitable Trust, Arts Council England, LS-Live/Backstage, Blum & Poe and Illamasqua.

The gallery is at the heart of Wakefield’s regeneration.  Designed by the internationally acclaimed practice, David Chipperfield Architects, it is funded by Wakefield Council and Arts Council England with additional funding from a number of charitable trusts and private individuals.  The gallery opened on 21 May 2011 and has attracted 512,000 visitors within the first 12 months.

The Hepworth Wakefield, Gallery Walk, West Yorkshire, WF1 5AW                                                      
Free admission                                                                                                                                  
Open Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm and 10am – 9pm on the Third Thursday of every month                                                                                          Closed Mondays (except for Bank Holidays and school holidays)
01924 247360  

Linder Sterling(b. 1954, Liverpool, UK) lives and works in Heysham, Lancashire, UK. Her work draws together various elements of her wide creativity from working on fanzines to performing in bands; art performances to fashion collaborations. Linder’s work is currently the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France.  Following her exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield, Linder will be holding a solo exhibition at Tate St Ives, Cornwall, UK. Her work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions, most recently The Dark Monarch, Tate, St Ives (2009); and Art For Whom?, Tate Britain, London (2010-2011). In 2010 Linder made two iterations of her 13 hour performance The Darktown Cakewalk, Celebrated House of FAME in Glasgow and at London’s Chisenhale Gallery. Linder’s film Forgetful Green was commissioned for Frieze Projects, London, in 2010.

On Saturday 18 May Tate St Ives opens Summer 2013.  As part of this, Linder will be bringing together a group of her own collages with the sculptures and personal effects of Barbara Hepworth. Drawing on her research into Hepworth’s life and work, Linder draws out the aspects of performance in Hepworth’s sculpture, through parallels to her own radical, feminist practice. Alongside her exhibition, a video of Linder's centrepiece ballet from The Ultimate Form will also be screened.



Richard was born in London and grew up in Australia. Since graduating from Central Saint Martins MA in 2002, Richard has gained experience including freelance consulting alongside Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton and Creative Director of Womenswear at Cerruti and designing successful capsule collections for Topshop and the top end Laurel line for Fred Perry. 

The brand has collaborated with artist Linder Sterling since AW09 on seasonal prints and external projects such as designing costumes for her Darktown Cakewalk performance at the Chisenhale Gallery, London and her subsequent Tim Walker Frieze Art Fair/Channel 4 film.  The Richard Nicholl/Linder collaborative i-D shoot was awarded the front cover. With his own label, Richard has been awarded three ANDAM prizes (2008), named Best Young Designer at the ELLE Style Awards (2009) and twice shortlisted for the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, most recently in 2012. He received NEWGEN sponsorship for four seasons (SS06 - AW07).

The brand’s high profile clients include: Julianne Moore, Diane Kruger, Josephine De La Baume, Yasmin Le Bon, Sienna Miller, Keira Knightly and Florence Welch (Florence and the Machine).


Northern Ballet is renowned for its full-length narrative productions which embrace popular culture and take inspiration from literature, opera, or give a unique interpretation of classical ballets. The Leeds-based company is committed to touring throughout the UK and overseas, developing new audiences for dance. It has carved a unique place in the UK’s cultural landscape and was voted Britain’s favourite ballet company for three consecutive years at the National Dance Awards.


Premier Dancer Kenneth Tindall’s talent as a choreographer came to light with Project #1 which he created for a Northern Ballet Choreographic Workshop in the summer of 2011. The piece was later extended to form part of Northern Ballet’s Perpetual Motion and went on to win him the Bundesjungendballett Production Prize at the 26th International Choreographic Competition in Hanover in 2012. He has also created Out of mine and into 4 for the L-Università ta' Malta which toured to the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London and the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Leeds. His piece Signature 31/30 gained critical acclaim whilst on tour with Ballet Central year and his work for Bundesjugendballett was selected by John Neumeier to open Folksongs, a mixed programme for the Company which premièred in March 2013.  His new work for Northern Ballet, Luminous Junc·ture, explores a moment in time – the present. Up-and-coming, Manchester-based fashion designer, Emma Guilfoyle, will create the costumes. The piece will form part of a new Mixed Programme for Northern Ballet. It will be performedat the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds from 5 to 9 June. The programme will also feature Concertante by Hans van Manen and Angles in Architecture by Mark Godden.    



Stuart has a wealth of experience in many different musical environments and genres. After being invited to join the Cinematic Orchestra in 2004, Stuart has performed on and contributed to the writing of the band’s critically acclaimed albums, ‘Ma Fleur’ and ‘Live at The Royal Albert Hall’. In addition he has contributed to the award winning Disney nature documentary soundtrack, ‘The Crimson Wing’, and the remix of Radiohead’s ‘Exit Music For A Film’ for Radiohead’s remix compilation album, ‘Exit Music: Songs For Radio Heads’.

Over the past two years Stuart has worked closely with internationally acclaimed British artist Linder. ‘The Dark Monarch’, performed at Tate St Ives in 2009 has resulted in a Tate DVD and book to document the piece. The 13 hour improvised performance piece, ‘The Darktown Cakewalk’, performed at the 2010Glasgow International Festival resulted in Stuart being awarded a nomination for ‘Best Music in Theatre in Scotland’ by the Scottish Theatre Critics Association. Stuart and Linder also collaborated to create a visual ‘soundtrack’ to Stuart’s ‘Distilled’ album launch.

Stuart has recorded three solo albums of his own compositions and has also performed and recorded with many prominent jazz artists including Kenny Wheeler, Mike Gibbs, Gwilym Simcock and Tim Garland.

From its spiritual routes in London, Illamasqua has set about revolutionising the global beauty industry since its launch in 2008. With its market leading, professional, long lasting, colour intense make up, Illamasqua has justifiably gained its status as the most significant make up brand to launch in 20 years. Hailed by press and digital influencers alike, the Illamasqua creative teams continue to deliver product and campaigns that inspire and encourage you to unlock you individuality. Discover more at

Backstage Academy is an industry-leading training centre of excellence for live events production and backstage skills. It is based on site at the famous LS-Live arena rehearsal facility in Wakefield, which operates award-winning set construction and staging hire divisions alongside the production studio where many high profile artists, brands and TV clients bring their sets to life. The Academy runs short courses, a Foundation Degree in Live Events Production and bespoke training programmes for both newcomers to the industry and working professionals, covering everything from lighting and sound, to stage pyrotechnics and event safety. For further information visit and

Wigan Young Souls are a group of young Northern Soul dancers from the Wigan area. They are all passionate about Northern Soul and they meet on the last Saturday of every month at Highfield Social Club in Wigan. The dedicated group of dancers are all self-taught, having learned from studying archive footage of Wigan Casino in its heyday and from visiting Northern Soul All-Nighters throughout the UK.

Wigan Young Souls are featured in Elaine Constantine's forthcoming film Northern Soul, taking part in major dance scenes in Constantine's reconstruction of Wigan Casino and throughout the film.

Jordan Wilson, a member of Wigan Young Souls was recently invited in appear in the Nutters of Savile Row X Peter Werth at London Collections: Men AW13 show