VITRINE launch the second season of SCULPTURE AT with a new commission by British artist Lucy Tomlins. The sculpture will be shown in Bermondsey Square from 30 March to 24 September 2017.
Lucy Tomlins’ work Pylon and Pier reverses the idea of a public square as a place for statues of distinguished people that reinforce notions of power.
In Pylon and Pier, the Titan Atlas is not holding up the sky for eternity, but has fallen from his plinth. The viewer, who would normally gaze upwards in awe, now stares down on the felled colossus. Atlas lies drained, the loss of his mythological strength underscored by the diminutive size of his body.
Tomlins’ use of Atlas is also a direct visual reference to The Public Square (1931) by American poet Wallace Stevens. In the poem, Stevens describes the demolition of a modernist building as a metaphor for systemic collapse. After the dust settles, all that remains is ‘The bijou of Atlas, the moon/Was last with its porcelain leer.’
Tomlins adds: “Though not didactic, my work has often involved subtle social commentary. I took this opportunity to consider the nature and function of the public square. A square is a space for the community to come together, a meeting place and a location for democracy and power shifts.”
Director of Vitrine and SCULPTURE AT, Alys Williams adds: “Lucy Tomlins’ practice is focused on sculpture and the dialogue around this medium. She has taken the very idea of sculpture in public space as her starting point. I am excited to see this new ambitious work come into fruition, as the launch commission of the new phase of SCULPTURE AT Bermondsey Square. This project is at the core of our commitment to artistic experimentation and development, and programming outside the white cube.”
About SCULPTURE AT
SCULPTURE AT was founded by VITRINE director Alys Williams and artist Karen Tang in 2014 as a platform for temporary, large- scale public sculpture. Its second edition will run during 2017 and 2018, and, as with its first incarnation, it will commission large- scale, temporary works by mid-career and emerging artists. The sculptures are all sited in Bermondsey Square, south east London, for a six-month period. There are no guidelines for the commissions, and by avoiding the need for permanence it gives artists the freedom to experiment and create works that might not otherwise be possible.
Tomlins commission will be followed by Charlie Godet Thomas (October 2017- March 2018) and the third commission will be by Swiss artist Edit Oderbolz (March – September 2018), selected in partnership with established Swiss curator Claire Hoffman, building on VITRINE’s links with the art community in Switzerland. The first edition, which took place between 2014 and 2016, featured Karen Tang, Edwin Burdis, and Frances Richardson. The programme has a number of project partners, including Contemporary Arts Society and Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre. Its media partner is Aesthetica Magazine, and it is supported by Arts Council England.
About Lucy Tomlins
Tomlins received her MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art (2012). Her objects, installations and assemblages combine a range of traditional materials including stone, concrete and metals with contemporary materials including light, moving image and sound. Through a process of remaking and rearranging the ready-made objects of our society, Lucy’s artwork creates uncanny relationships between seemingly disparate materials and things in an attempt to make sense of her everyday, situated, social context.
Unapologetically defining herself as a ‘sculptor’ in a time of dematerialised art practice, she embraces the deeply rooted commitment to craft skills within this art form and offers elasticity to sculptural technique that harnesses the values, principles and commitments of a sensibility preoccupied with the phenomenological experience of materiality and space.
Recent exhibitions include Use/User/Used (2016) and Invites (2013), Zabludowicz Collection, London; Under the Cloche or You Always Catch Me Napkin (2016), Bosse and Baum, London; BayArt, Cardiff ; Worcester Cathedral and the Royal British Society of Sculptors, London. Her most recent commission was for Deutsche Bank and she has produced outdoor public sculpture commissions for Battersea Park, London and Cowley Manor, Gloucestershire. She has work permanently cited in Grizedale Forest, Lake District.
The recipient of the Royal British Society of Sculptures Bursary Award in 2013, she was also recipient of the Deutsche Bank Creative Enterprises 2012 Award in Art as well as the 2011 Annual Battersea Park Sculpture Award. She was shortlisted for the Coutts/Cowley Manor Art Prize in 2012 and selected for the Catlin Guide 2013 as one of 40 of the most exciting post graduate artists from UK art schools in 2012.
Founded by Alys Williams in 2012, VITRINE is located on Bermondsey Square in South East London, and in Basel, Switzerland, where it recently opened a further space. It represents a growing number of international artists and regular participates in art fairs. The gallery’s two spaces are used promote new models of exhibition-making, encouraging experimentation and installation. Whilst enclosed behind glass, the works extend beyond its boundaries into the surrounding public space.
About Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre (PSC)
Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre is a London-based resource that brings together the production of sculpture with critical, cultural and educational programming on this art form. It enables the realisation of ambitious artworks by offering expertise to help sculptors hone their skills and advance their practice.