About the Artwork

Phyllida Barlow’s sculpture untitled: megaphone, 2014, towers six metres high and stands to the viewer as to announce a performance that has yet to begin.

The sculpture resembles a tall megaphone. However, Barlow herself described it as an approximation or substitution for the actual object. As part of its making, the sculpture has been hacked and reinvented into a new form. A closer inspection reveals the materials, its texture, the colours, and the absence of technical functionality have left it with very little in common to a functioning megaphone. ‘It interests me what sculpture is, its playing around with substitution, and where do those substitutions lead one?’, Barlow noted. By being at first suggestive to reality while depriving a relation to a real object, sculpture acts as a trigger, stimulating the imagination of the viewer to new creative forms, to memories and undiscovered fantasies.

Year: 2014

© Phyllida Barlow. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth. Photo: © Nick Turpin


Steel, timber, plywood, wirenetting, sand, polyurethane foam, polystyrene, paint, varnish


600 x 235 x 290 cm

Artist Biography

Phyllida Barlow

A career spanning six decades, British artist Phyllida Barlow took inspiration from her surroundings to create imposing installations that can be at once menacing and playful. Barlow’s restless invented forms stretch the limits of mass, volume, and height as they block, straddle and balance precariously. The audience is challenged into a new relationship with the sculptural object, the gallery environment, and the world beyond. Barlow exhibited extensively across institutions internationally, including: Chillida Leku, Hernani (2023); Sprengel Museum, Hannover (2022); ARTIST ROOMS, Tate Modern, London (2021); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2021); The Royal Academy of Arts, London (2019); La Biennale di Venezia, British Pavilion, Venice (2017); Kunsthalle Zürich, Zurich (2016); Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2015); Duveen Commission at Tate Britain, London (2014). Barlow was awarded the Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung’s 2022 Kurt Schwitters Prize.