I Walked And I Thought. Picture courtesy of Rob Ryan.

The papercut philosopher

Blink and you might miss a small but perfectly formed combination of the visual and verbal at YSP

Although Anthony Caro is undeniably the big-name attraction of the current programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, there's a smashing little exhibition you really ought to see before you dash off to the lakeside and the Longside in search of his works.

It's upstairs in the YSP visitor centre – just a corridor and one small gallery – but the delight is in the detail of Rob Ryan's show Listen to the World.

It showcases his beautifully intricate papercuts (and a number of prints) which combine delicate, lace-like graphics with words which, surely, come straight from the heart of the London-based artist.

Imagine a much-embellished Victorian silhouette portrait or, perhaps, one of those intricately crocheted covers which protected your grandparents' best sideboard from scratches and you'll get the idea.

Both visually and verbally they fall just the right side of the dividing line between charming and twee (and here speaks someone who doesn't do cute, thank you) and it's impossible not to smile at the shapes and silhouettes – figures almost out of a child's drawing; intertwining foliage and flowers; cheerful little birds – which make up these most singular works of art.

Some of the words which accompany them, however, are genuinely moving: pieces such as The Village Grew Into A Town, The Map Of My Entire Life, Thinking About You and Shall We? touching on intimate expressions

Our Sub Atomic Love Story

of love and loneliness, the yearning of youth (and more advanced years) and that innocent wonder of it all which can still grab even the most sceptical of us when the moment is right.

Ryan has also created a piece especially for this exhibition, Our Sub Atomic Love Story, available to buy as a limited edition print, while various other of his designs are on bags, mugs, plates and towels in the YSP shop.

Listen to the World runs until 1 November: www.ysp.co.uk has more.

Still We Feel The Same.
Rob Ryan. Picture: Hugh Kelly.
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