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James Capper, whose machine-like sculptures forge interplay between art, technology and the natural world, has a new show opening in February at The Edge, the University of Bath’s creativity centre.

The show will consist of a wide range of sculptures, drawings and films by Capper, demonstrating his uneering ability to create seemingly recognisable yet other-worldly working machinery. Capper's experimentation with, and refinement of, engineering parts, vehicles and machines, elevates their componentry and purpose allowing them to become works of art. The application of hydraulics ensures each moving and functioning metal beast has the capability of land-marking or sculpting when operated; and yet it simultaneously renders them almost incapacitate, even superfluous, by a bastardisation of their mechanical parts.

For inspiration and reference, Capper studies the movement and lives of arachnids, caterpillars and working insects, alongside the world of machinery on modern farms, and the earth-moving equipment that is used to shape much of our world. The objects themselves however, are only part of the overall effect of Capper's work; what's left behind by the machinery - the tracks, shapes, holes - make for comparison with land art practice; the sculptures that result from the more precision cutting machinery, and the attachments and modification that are part of the machines themselves, make for artwork within a more traditional sculptural and object-making realm. 

With venues including the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Modern Art Oxford, Whitworth Art Gallery and Victoria & Albert Museum having showcased james Capper in recent years, The Edge exhibition features the largest number of works shown in the UK to date. A truly unique solo show – Sculpture & Hydraulics - includes works exhibited in the UK for the first time, spectacularly sited across the galleries, foyer and outside spaces.

Arguably the most complete picture comes when Capper operates his creations in person, and during Sculpture & Hydraulics there will be frequent opportunities for gallery visitors to experience this. Sculpture & Hydraulics also features a prototype of a new sculpture, Monitor, produced in collaboration with the University of Bath’s Mechanical Engineering department.

The exhibition is presented in association with Hannah Barry Gallery, London


James Capper: Sculpture & Hydraulics

10 February – 8 April 2017

Tue-Thu 11am - 8pm, Fri & Sat 11am-5pm



Associated events include:

Exhibition Preview: Thursday 9th Feb, 5pm – 8pm (contact the venue)

Events for schools during Bath Science Week: Friday 17th March 9am – 3pm (contact the venue)

Artist talk:

Thursday 16th February, 6.15pm (contact the venue)

Sculpture demonstration:

Friday 17th March, 11am – 5pm (contact the venue)


Image: James Capper, RIPPER. Photo: Marc Atkins