Winning Artist for Birmingham Big Art Project to be announced.
Birmingham Big Art Project is getting ready to announce the winning £2 million public artwork for Birmingham that is destined for Eastside Park, adjacent to the proposed HS2 terminal.
Arts organisations, professionals from across the city and key stakeholders have been invited to the announcement of the winning artist, which will be formally revealed by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham at 6.45pm on Tuesday, 18 April. This marks the beginning of the next phase of the project – the development and realisation of the winning commission.
Birmingham Big Art Project is the most ambitious public art commission in Birmingham’s history. In 2013, a rigorous public process of selecting the artist and artwork for Birmingham was initiated by a newly formed charitable trust, the Birmingham Big Art Foundation, to imagine a major new permanent public artwork for the city. A steering group made up of city leaders from council, business, higher education and other esteemed cultural leaders was appointed to agree a strategic plan and assist in raising the target sum of £2 million. Birmingham Big Art Project believes that art is a vital part of our city’s past, present and future and their aim is to commission a new public artwork that can support and expand the idea of a twenty first century city.
A selection panel of artistic curators from around the UK was appointed to advise the steering group. Gavin Wade, the CEO of the commissioning agents, Eastside Projects, said:
“With a firm recommendation from the selection panel, the steering group has chosen the artwork that challenges our ideas of what art is, where it is, when it is, how it has been made, and how to imagine art in the future.”
Glyn Pitchford, chairman and trustee of the Birmingham Big Art Project, added: “We’re about to enter into a very exciting, in fact the most important, phase of the Birmingham Big Art Project and are looking forward to announcing the winner. Once the announcement has taken place, you’ll still have a chance to see all five shortlisted artist’s models at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until June. It is my strong view that any one of these entries could fulfil our ambition of putting Birmingham and this region on the world’s cultural stage; to become a brand new landmark which people will want to visit and experience.”
The five shortlisted artist’s models are:
Brian Griffiths has designed a giant piece of jewellery for the city of Birmingham to wear! If selected, Brian will work with a group of craftspeople from the Jewellery Quarter to produce a giant bracelet-like monument for the site, as well as a series of bespoke pieces of jewellery to compliment the sculpture.
Brian has a history of making sculptures that blow normal, everyday objects out of proportion. Brian’s sculpture, if chosen, will stand at over 12 metres high.
Roger Hiorns’s proposed artwork has caused widespread controversy since it went on display in June, 2016. Hiorns’ idea is to 3D scan and remodel a 27 metre-long steam train in stone, evoking the technological developments of the past transformed by new technologies of the future. Through this process, the train’s exterior shell is rendered to resemble human skin. The image of the locomotive in bodily transition is proposed by the artist as a symbol of the shaping of our sexual and physical identities by technology.
Hiorns was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2009 with his installation ‘Seizure’ – an abandoned London council flat that was lined from top to bottom with razor-sharp copper-sulphate crystals.
Heather and Ivan Morison – Blueprint for Happiness
Heather and Ivan Morison’s proposal ‘Blueprint for Happiness’ is a sculpture derived from the perfect colliding cuboid geometries of minerals created deep beneath the earth. The pair chose Blueprint for Happiness to characterise Birmingham because its many gleaming facets represent the city’s long and lustrous past being shaped into a bright new future.
Turner Prize-winning Susan Philipsz is a sculptor in sound, and her proposed sculpture is an aural clock, comprising of 12 digits, representing the 12 tones of the musical scales, using different vocal combinations for each digit. There will be a need for between 156 and 1,092 different voices in total, and Susan will seek the help of the people of Birmingham and Birmingham Conservatoire if chosen.
Keith Wilson has proposed a slow-moving sculpture that will travel from one end of the site to the other. Inspired by Birmingham’s history of labour and transportation of materials, ‘Industrial Revolution’ will move at a speed of 25 metres per year. That equates to 2.08 metres per month, 0.068m per day or 0.00285m per hour!
You can view the exhibition of the shortlisted artist’s models at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which will be on display until June. For more information, visit www.birminghambigartproject.org.uk. Follow us on Facebook: @BhamBigArtProject and Twitter: @BigArtProject.