Sculpture adoption: Artists' work given new lease of life
Plan to bring creations out of storage and display them in public places.
Artists will be able to put their work up for adoption through a new scheme to give new life to sculptures languishing in storage.
The Sculpture Placement Group (SPG) project will give educational and health organisations, art institutions, charities, housing associations and others the chance to show high-quality works.
Several of the pieces were commissioned for exhibitions at leading galleries, but many artworks end up in boxes or storage facilities after shows end.
The initiative will be piloted at SPG's Sculpture Showroom exhibition - part of Glasgow International 2018, from April 20 to May 7 - in the Glasgow Sculpture Studio.
A selection of works in search of new guardians will be on display and others will feature in a catalogue currently being compiled by SPG.
Adoption will be free but guardians will take responsibility for care and display of the artwork.
Kate V Robertson, one of the three curators and artists behind the project, said: "All over the country there are superb sculptures by respected artists that are hidden away and have no clear future when they could be seen and enjoyed by new and wider audiences.
"The art market puts a lot of emphasis on new work by sculptors with little provision for what happens to pieces after an exhibition is over. Some is destroyed but the artists put much of it into long-term storage.
"We've been talking to artists about whether they would like to give new life to some of their work by offering it for adoption and the response has been great, loads of enthusiasm."
The other SPG founders are curators Michelle Emery-Barker and Martin Craig.
One artist putting work up for adoption is Glasgow-based Nick Evans, who said: "A few years ago I was invited to do a solo exhibition at Tramway, which was great, I really threw myself into creating the pieces. There were a dozen large plaster sculptures around 1.5m tall and weighing 100kg each.
"I didn't want to destroy them afterwards - it was a significant moment in my career. I swapped one with my landlord for two shipping containers and space in the backyard to store the rest.
"The prospect of finding more interesting spaces and ways to display this work really interests me, as does the whole idea of giving a new sense of value to the work."
Rachel Lowther, another Glasgow-based artist, said: "My studio is full of sculpture now and it can be a problem finding space to create anything new. Sculptors either have to keep work in their studios or pay extra for storage.
"This is a great experiment - it is better to have art out in the world, than in boxes. A sculpture is a better place to meet and talk than a water cooler."
The latest scheme comes after the three curators helped create the exhibition "Reclaimed - the second life of sculpture" in 2014, which included only works in long-term storage.
This highlighted the plight of Spirit of Kentigern, popularly known as The Whale's Tail, which originally had its home in Buchanan Street but ended up in a field.
In 2017 Neil Livingston's sculpture found a permanent new home in front of the entrance of City of Glasgow College.
SPG said the adoption scheme has been made possible thanks to support from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland's Open Project Fund.