Letter: Dame Phyllida Barlow obituary

Not long after she left the Slade in the 1960s, I invited Phyllida Barlow to present a week-long introductory sculpture project to a group of students at Camberwell School of Art in London.

She asked that the project studio be cleared of furniture, equipment and materials, except for a large stack of flat-packed cardboard boxes in the middle of the empty space. Confronted with a long rectangular room, with a door at one end and a high cube of stacked cardboard in the middle, the students spent five days filling the space with a great variety of invented box structures, with each new one gradually blocking the view of their earlier efforts.

When they arrived at the door by the end of the week, most of what they had done was hidden by their most recent moves and had become a memory. The project was an important lesson about sculptural processes for the students, and also provided them, in words Phyllida later used to describe her own work, with a memorable “physical adventure”.