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Southwark Council shortlists artists for commission of the Dulwich Park artwork

Published Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Barbara Hepworth metal statue called Two Forms in Dulwich Park

The commissioning process for the new sculpture for Dulwich Park has gained momentum with the announcement of the four shortlisted artists.

Recent winner of the prestigious Zurich Art Prize, Ryan Gander; Turner Prize nominee in 2003, Anya Galaccio; Conrad Shawcross whose work "Metamorphosis: Titian 2012" was commissioned as part of the Cultural Olympiad's London 2012 Festival; and internationally acclaimed Eva Rothschild have been selected.

Following the theft of the Barbara Hepworth sculpture from Dulwich Park in 2011, a steering group made up of Southwark Council representatives and members of Dulwich community groups was set up to oversee the commission of a new artwork for the park. The steering group has been working alongside the Contemporary Art Society, who were appointed last year to manage the artist commissioning process.

The selected artists now have a period of three months to develop their design proposal.

Following this, a public consultation will be held in June 2013 to gauge opinion on each of the art work proposals. Details of the locations for public consultations will be made available in April.

Each artist will be judged on their ability to meet the commissioning principles agreed by both the steering group and the Contemporary Art Society ahead of the public consultation.

Commissioning principles

Responsive to Context - The commission process for Dulwich Park should allow time for artists to engage with the Park, its history, its landscape and the communities who enjoy it. Setting an inspiring brief for the commission that encourages the artist to interpret the context sets the scene for a remarkable and responsive commission to emerge.

Providing an Experience of the Park - There is an opportunity to develop an artwork that provides new ways of appreciating the park – and that engages audiences dynamically.

A Legacy for Hepworth - The commission ultimately should represent the highest quality contemporary art, achieved by working with professional and critically endorsed artists and valuing the creative response.

Best Practice - As a public project it is important that the process reflects best practice commissioning guidelines. The commission should be delivered through transparent and accountable procurement processes, reflecting the necessity for a robust and sustainable artwork, managed to a high standard throughout and communicated via sensitive public engagement.

Councillor Veronica Ward, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, Sport, Olympic Legacy and Volunteering said "We were overwhelmed by the response we had from such amazing talents. Although it was a tough decision to make, we are confident that the shortlist reflects a good pedigree of artists all capable of fulfilling the brief in their own individual way. We look forward to reviewing their individual visions for the artwork in Dulwich Park and we pleased to be able to honour the legacy of Barbara Hepworth in this way."

Fabienne Nicholas, Head of Consultancy, Contemporary Art Society said; "We are delighted to present this strong shortlist of artists for the Dulwich Park Sculpture Commission. Each artist has a varied approach to sculpture: Gallaccio’s site specific works are concerned with beauty, nature and the passing of time while Gander’s ideas based practice ranges from installations and sculptures to lectures and publications."

"Rothschild's sculpture plays on minimalist traditions whilst exploring architectural and urban space and Shawcross creates static and moving sculptures which explore geometry, philosophy, physics and metaphysics. The four artists live and work in London, and while each has an international and prolific career none have a permanent sculpture in the city. This list is an illustrious and varied one, befitting of the ground breaking artist of her time, Barbara Hepworth."

The Barbara Hepworth sculpture was stolen from Dulwich Park following several incidents of metal theft in the capital. Since then, following a national campaign to target metal theft, the council has enforced measures to protect the borough's most valued artefacts including the Henry Moore sculpture on the Brandon Estate.

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