An Evening Preview of ‘Parliament’

Jam Record Store, Falmouth, 11th May 2012, 7 – 9pm

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A mischievous Parliament of rooks will be running amok in the shabby chic lower room of Jam – an esoteric record shop in Falmouth – from 11th May 2012, where they will be in residence for a fortnight of mayhem.

Parliament is an installation created by the renowned sculptor Tim Shaw; it consists of twenty five rooks constructed from black polythene, straw and wire.  The installation is completed with the menacing cries of these birds merged with political debates recorded from within the House of Commons.

After two days sitting uninspired, during a residency in the west of Ireland, 2006, Shaw looked out the window at the cold and barren landscape surrounding him only to see dark flickering shapes in the corner of his eyes.  Black plastic snagged on barbed wire and the surrounding trees began to conjure shapes, playful and sinister, taking the form of windswept crows and rooks.

Shaw commentedDSCN0140: ‘Having observed the behaviour and nature of these birds, I made the comparison with those in a position of power’; he therefore felt it was appropriate that the birds’ calls should combine with discussions from within the theatre of flock mayhem – the chattering of Parliamentarians.

Curated by Olivia Gray.

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Soul Snatcher Possession

yes7IMG_0444Monday 23rd April 2012, 6 – 9pm
Riflemaker, 79 Beak Street, London, W1F 9SU
www.riflemaker.org

The first major exhibition in London since Casting A Dark Democracy (the Kenneth Armitage Foundation, 2009), will open at Riflemaker on Monday 23rd April 2012.

The exhibition features three new works: Soul Snatcher Possession; Ketamine and Pregnant Fairy.

The first captures the potently charged moments before a brutal killing.  Eight larger-than-life figures sculpted from old clothes, stockings and sacking fill a dimly lit room with their menacing presence.  With no weapon in sight only the perpetrators’ smiles, looks and gestures betray the imminence of the dreadful act – a metaphor for the ‘taking of life by those in a position of power’.

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Ketamine recounts a festival scene in which two individuals dressed as elves dance wildly whilst on the powerful mind altering chemical.  ‘The words ‘Bistow Kids Gone Wrong’ came to mind as I watched the spectacle.’

Pregnant Fairy questions how fairies might have existed and survived through the ages and asks why there are few, if any, depictions of pregnant fairies in sculpture.

‘The Drummer’ Unveiled

The Drummer Unveiling Ceremony

On June 25th, 2011, approximately 3500 people gathered on Truro’s main square to be a part of the impressive unveiling ceremony for The Drummer.

One hundred drummers from all around Cornwall opened the proceedings as they converged, beating in unison, around the base of the 15ft high sculpture. In the expectant silence that followed the last drum beat, city Mayor, Rob Nolan introduced Sir Richard Carew Pole who spoke first about Cornwall’s rich artistic heritage and the importance of allocating funding to the arts, even, and perhaps especially, during difficult times such as we are currently experiencing. He explained that The Drummer “will make us all, as we pass it on our daily routes, reflect and quietly think about our history and our lives and all that goes with it.”

The Drummer lit up at night on Lemon QuayFollowing Sir Richard, Queen’s drummer, Roger Taylor, spoke a few words, commenting that he was “honoured and delighted to be involved in this fabulous and slightly controversial, in some ways, but magnificent sculpture”, before pulling the cord that finally removed the cover from the statue, revealing it to the public for the first time. Using a custom made 4ft drumstick, he then sounded the drum, as if bringing to life the sculpture now standing in its permanent home on Truro’s Lemon Quay.

The public’s reaction to the work has so far been overwhelmingly positive. For a few of Truro’s residents however, the controversy that Roger Taylor perceived in the figure has seemed cause for concern, sparking questions as to whether the drummer’s visible genitalia classes as “obscenity”. Tim Shaw responded to these worries, calling up the long history of nude figures in public art and reiterating that “the work isn’t sexual. It’s about something else; about place and people, an expression of toughness and the ability to get on and survive whatever the prevailing circumstances may be; and it’s about the sense of being precariously balanced on an edge which that often entails.”

In response to the other body of concerns which questioned the spending of public money on art in a time of government and council cuts, councillor Charlotte Mackenzie commented that although she would unfortunately feel unable to back a similar project if it arose today, she was glad that projects such as this, commissioned before the current financial crisis, are coming to fruition now at a time when the beneficial aspects of hosting a unique cultural event –  lifting people’s spirits and drawing visitors to Truro – are more important than ever.

Update: Unveiling of ‘The Drummer’ and Exhibitions

Unveiling of The Drummer Approaches – 25th June

Drummer in BronzeThe last of the preparations for the unveiling ceremony for The Drummer are now in full swing as the work enters its last stage of completion at the Bronze Age Foundry in London.

In just 10 days time, the sculpture will have returned to Cornwall and will stand waiting for drummers from all around the county to gather, drumming in unison at its base, as Roger Taylor reveals Truro’s new public sculpture.

In a recent article entitled ‘The shape of things to come: new sculpture’, Brian Sewell described Shaw’s work, commenting:

“I can point without hesitation to a sculptor who can trounce the lot of them whether they be Saatchi’s present choice or the sentimental memorialists recently let loose in London – Tim Shaw, young enough to be still New and capable of taking risks, old and skilled enough to be seen as in the monumental tradition of Charles Sargent Jagger and Michael Sandle.”

Unveiling Ceremony: Saturday 25th June, 7.30pm, Lemon Quay, Truro

Full details of the unveiling are here.

‘What God of Love Inspires Such Hate in the Hearts of Men’ at the Royal Academy Summer Show

The Royal Academy of Arts’ annual Summer Exhibition is once again underway. The show is the largest open contemporary art exhibition in the world, and draws together a wide range of new and recent work by established, unknown and emerging artists.

Shaw’s striking ‘What God of Love Inspires Such Hate in the Hearts of Men’ (Man on Fire) can be found in Gallery VIII. In a review of the exhibition in the London Evening Standard, art critic Brian Sewell listed this piece in his top ten commendations, along with works by James Butler, Brian Taylor, Jack Sawbridge, and Per Kirkeby.

Summer Exhibition 2011 is at the Royal Academy, until August 15. Saturday to Thursday 10am-6pm; Friday 10am-10pm. Admission £10 (concs available).

‘ORIGINS OF THE DRUMMER’ Exhibition AT MILLENNIUM GALLERY, ST. IVES

If you have not already managed to make it down to the Millennium Gallery in St. Ives to see Origins of The Drummer, then you have just one more week to do so before the show closes on June 21st.

The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to see a range of Shaw’s work. Spanning back to one of his earliest installations, ‘La Corrida: Dreams in Red’, the show not only offers a rare opportunity to see the works in their own right, but is also orchestrated to highlight the evolution of ideas and techniques that led to The Drummer.

‘The Origins of The Drummer’ – Exhibition and Private View

The date for the private view of the exhibition ‘The Origins of The Drummer’, to be held at the Millennium Gallery in St. Ives, will now take place on Saturday 21st May.

'The Origins of The Drummer' at the Millennium Gallery, St. IvesThe exhibition will showcase  the drawings and maquettes that contributed towards the final major sculpture ‘The Drummer’ which will be unveiled on Truro’s main square, Lemon Quay, on June 25th (details here) and will also feature a chance to see Tim Shaw’s earlier work, ‘La Corrida: Dreams in Red’, an installation that integrates elements of sound and light with modeled form as it was with this work that the inspiration for a figure poised on a ball began.

The collectors catalogues that accompany the exhibition are available to view online now on the Millennium Gallery homepage.

‘The Origins of The Drummer’ will run from 21st May – 21st of June.

‘The Drummer’ – Unveiling – 25th June 2011

At 7.30pm on Saturday 25th June 2011, Tim Shaw’s latest sculpture, entitled ‘The Drummer’, commissioned by Cornwall Council, will be unveiled on Lemon Quay in Truro.

'The Drummer' in progress by Tim ShawSir Richard Carew Pole will officially open the ceremony and Roger Taylor, drummer for the rock band Queen, who was schooled and brought up in Truro, will perform the task of unveiling the sculpture.

The ceremony begins with contingents of drummers who proceed through Truro’s streets before gathering around the sculpture to ‘drum in’ the unveiling. All the drummers in the event come from Cornish towns where the drumbeat is still an integral part of traditional festivals that celebrate the arrival of summer and winter each year.

Tim Shaw working on 'The Drummer'Tim Shaw explains that when he first set foot in Cornwall, twenty five years ago, it struck him as a place whose drum beats differently to anywhere else, and sensed immediately the primordial, magical and timeless qualities that have long been associated with the land.

Over the course of the many years that followed, Shaw looked for answers as to why those qualities were so readily apparent in Cornwall. ‘The Drummer’ is the result of this questioning. It celebrates the spirit of a land and its people, and embodies the character of “steely determination” that arises in a community making their way in remote circumstances.

‘Origins of The Drummer’ at Millennium Gallery, St. Ives, 21st May – 21st June

Prior to the unveiling of The Drummer, an exhibition entitled ‘Origins of The Drummer’ will take place at the Millennium Gallery in St Ives, from 21st May to 21st June, showcasing drawings and maquettes that contributed towards the final work.

La Corrida: Dreams in Red, by Tim ShawThe show also provides an opportunity to view one of Shaw’s earlier installations, entitled ‘La Corrida: Dreams in Red’, that integrates elements of sound and light with modeled form. It was with this work that the inspiration for a figure poised on a ball began.

‘La Corrida’ was inspired by a three month residency in Andalucía, Spain. It depicts a world that rages with an explosive, ‘knife-edge’, passion and grace. Elements of beauty, sensuality and brutality are merged together. Bulls charge across the arena, figures dance, turn and gesture as if driven by an ever-present awareness of their mortality.

Private View: Saturday 21st May 2011, 7-9pm

‘Drummer’ Nears Completion

Casting of the final, fifteen foot high, bronze sculpture of ‘Drummer’, commissioned to stand in Truro’s main square outside the Hall for Cornwall theatre, is currently underway in London. The modelling work was completed on this piece in December 2010 and, shortly after this, the foundry began the process of taking moulds from the model where it stood in a remote Cornish studio before transporting them up to London for the work to be completed.

Tim Shaw working on 'Drummer'It is hoped that the cast will contain both an ingot of Cornish tin and Cornish copper, symbolically thrown into the crucible to figuratively connect the sculpture to the land around it.

As soon as a date can be confirmed for completion of the casting (estimated late May – June 2011), an announcement will be made regarding its unveiling, including details of who will unveil the piece and the date and time of accompanying festivities.

Concurrent to this event, the Millennium Gallery will be hosting an exhibition of the drawings and machetes that formed the preliminary work to ‘Drummer’,  as well as providing another opportunity to view the installation produced between 1996 to 1999, La Corrida: Dreams in Red, a piece which constituted part of the original inspiration for ‘Drummer’.