Marilyn Goes Barefoot in the Park

As Yorkshire Sculpture Park reopens fully, Joana Vasconcelos – Beyond, an exhibition by the Portuguese artist, has been extended until January 2022. Her giant shoe sculpture, ‘Marilyn’ (2009-11), shown in the park’s underground gallery, was made from saucepans, and while not an exact replica, may have been inspired by the ‘subway scene’ from The Seven Year Itch.

This ‘larger than life’ sculpture reflects the subject’s iconic status, but unlike Seward Johnson’s outsize ‘Forever Marilyn,’ here the woman who filled those shoes is absent – her spirit merely mirrored in the glinting metal. These shoes have taken on the essence of the subway grate, but perhaps the artist was making a point about the ‘sculpted’ nature of Hollywood glamour, and the labour involved in maintaining it.