Hester Reeve



Output: Other

Ymedaca was a multi-modal art work that created the largest sculpture ever exhibited at YSP by recasting its entire grounds and facilities as a contemporary translation of Plato’s garden academy. The project explored how art works could be used to re-contextualise Plato’s philosophical ideas - in particular about the good life and wisdom - to reveal their relevance to contemporary concerns surrounding both the artist-thinker as public figure and the changing role of the university.

Reeve’s methodology extended the remit and format of the artworks themselves, the value of the art school and the figure of the artist within society at large. Ymedaca built upon Reeve’s longstanding research investigating contentious issues of power and hierarchy in the historical relationship between philosophy and art – a long story of give and take. Reeve is invested in developing constructive and creative platforms to expound and evidence the philosophical agency of art. Her works manifest and celebrate a long story of intersection, of proximity and distance between these intimately connected and parallel subject areas. Initiated through research at the National Arts Education Archive (based at YSP) into the historical instances of radical experiments in art school education in the UK alongside close reading of Plato’s philosophy of art, YSP was ultimately employed as conceptual container for this body of work.

Ymedaca was an Arts Council funded project realised through a 2-year residency at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and which culminated in the following related elements: A one-day garden academy public event (working with local interest groups and at which Reeve performed), 2 exhibitions (The Temple of the Muses & Ymedaca -The Game Plan), a special edition visitor map of YSP, an artwork website promoting the project and a book publication documenting and extending the project’s aims through commissioned essays.

Research Output

This collection of images displays the outputs from this project. Find out more details in the full case study below.

Research Method

The background of Ymedaca was Reeve’s engagement with the works of Plato, particularly studying The Republic and Ion where arguments for art’s negative contribution to wisdom are laid out. Whilst further reading of the philosopher’s works continued throughout the project’s length, in particular into Plato’s idea on education and ‘the good,’ at the start of the project, the research focus was on ascertaining what actually went on in the garden academy, the Akademos, which the philosopher founded in c. 387 BC.

Key Methodologies:

Full Project Output

REF '21

To learn more about the output, methods and dissemination of this work, explore the full project submission.

Other Projects By

Hester Reeve