Richard Wilson RA, one of Britain's most renowned sculptors, revealed his ambitious five storey high work at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) to the public for the first time today (Monday 14 September).
A major architectural intervention, Square the Block has been installed on the northwest exterior of LSE's New Academic Building at the corner of Kingsway and Sardinia Street. Commissioned by LSE and curated by the Contemporary Art Society, Square the Block is a spectacular outdoor sculpture that both mimics and subtly subverts the existing façade of the building.
Richard Wilson said: 'Whenever I start a piece of work I start the process by trying to understand the particular nature of the site and the reason for making the work. For me that's the springboard that starts me towards an idea.'
Square the Block evokes a building in transition, shifting our perception of the solidity of the stone from which it is constructed. The two edges of this 5-storey sculpture are copied from separate vertical slices of the existing building that when placed together make no architectural or functional sense other than completing the corner. At its base above the pavement, the sculpture appears to have been twisted and compressed as if by a giant hand or greater tectonic forces.
The work continues Richard's singular approach to sculpture, referencing the existing architectural context and functional form in much the same way as his acclaimed piece for the Liverpool Biennale, Turning the Place Over.
Richard Wilson has been nominated for the Turner Prize twice and was awarded the prestigious DAAD residency in Berlin 1992-93. His proposal was selected through an international competition in 2007.
LSE's Julian Robinson, director of planning and development said: 'Although we specialise in the social sciences, LSE is also serious about art and architecture. This sculpture will be an important contribution to the public art of the capital and will no doubt become part of the London scene and a site seeing must. Working with Richard has been a delight and with the help of CAS and our generous benefactors we have secured another significant piece of public art for the School.'
Paul Hobson, director of the Contemporary Art Society, said: 'Richard's sculpture for LSE is set to become a renowned public artwork for London and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with the artist on such an ambitious project. LSE's bold approach to commissioning contemporary art is to be commended, one which we hope sets a benchmark for public sculpture in our city.'
Square the Block will be officially launched on 21 September at LSE with an evening reception in the New Academic Building.
Contact Jess Winterstein, LSE Press Office, 020 7107 5025, firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
Richard Wilson RA is well known for his interventions in architectural space, which draw heavily for their inspiration on the worlds of engineering and construction. He has exhibited widely nationally and internationally for over thirty years and has made major museum exhibitions and public works in Japan, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Australia and throughout Europe. He has represented Britain at the Sydney, Sao Paulo and Venice Biennales and Yokohama Triennial. He has been nominated for the Turner Prize on two occasions and was awarded the prestigious DAAD residency in Berlin 1992-3. His seminal installation 20:50, a sea of reflective sump oil, is permanently installed at the Saatchi Collection. He was appointed Visiting Research Professor at the University of East London in 2004.
Art at LSE
The New Academic Building was opened by Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on Wednesday 5 November 2008. LSE, has invested over half a million pounds into contemporary art for the new building, supported by the Contemporary Art Society. This includes an installation inside the building by Joy Gerrard.
LSE also recently unveiled Bluerain, a startling artwork designed by San Francisco sculptor Michael Brown that sits on the southwest-facing wall of the Lionel Robbins Building, housing the Library. Made up of 23,520 blue light emitting diodes, Bluerain is designed to be an interactive experience and reflects the searches being carried on in the Library.
LSE does not teach arts or music, but it does have a vibrant cultural side which includes weekly music concerts, an orchestra and choir with their own professional conductors and numerous student art societies. LSE Arts is a three year funded initiative within the School which aims to not only present high quality cultural events for students, staff and public, but to also explore and nurture closer links between the arts and social sciences through a rolling programme of contemporary art exhibitions, talks and events. Through this work the School hopes to provide a different and somewhat unique perspective on the arts and the social sciences. http://www.lse.ac.uk/arts
Contemporary Art Society Consultancy
The Contemporary Art Society is a membership organisation that supports artists by promoting the importance of collecting and commissioning. Drawing on knowledge and networks across our programmes we offer a comprehensive advisory service to the public and private sectors, developing public art commissions, contemporary art projects and corporate collections. Recent projects include a major public artwork for Heathrow T5 by artists Langlands & Bell, the 2008 Beck's Fusions and the ongoing Economist Plaza Sculpture programme.
With over 30 years of experience in commissioning, curating and project management, our skill is in understanding each client's needs and creating visionary links to the best in contemporary art. www.contemporaryartsociety.org/consultancy
14 September 2009