Death of the Civic
the non-spaces that are depicted in these images are loaded as they were once deemed appropriate sites for the placement of public sculpture, now the sculptures have been removed there is an absence that has ‘appeared’. Public sculpture is by its nature an incredibly generous gesture, and generosity to the public now seems like a utopian idea, and by that I mean old and redundant, this is mirrored through the meanings and presence of the works of the likes of Moore and Hepworth, which too feel from another time, a civic time. The removal, destruction and theft of these objects is a ‘lost in translation’ moment at a simple level, and perhaps also a symbol of the political and social shift from civic culture to individual culture at a more complex level.
In a weird way space has become an object, and that transformation is particularly potent when thought of in relationship to the development and privatisation not just of land, property and culture, but of our everyday lives. I hope these works highlight and get us to consider this moment which I feel is a historical and political shift. I am not sure if I think it’s good or bad that these works are no longer in public in all honesty, but it seems important and worth documenting.
Uli Nimptsch: ‘Neighbourly Encounter’. 1961
Barbara Hepworth: ‘Meridian’. 1960
Frank Dobson: ‘Woman With Fish’. 1963
Install for Bloomberg New Contemporaries
Lynne Chadwick: ‘The Watchers’. 1967
Henry Moore: ‘Knife Edge’. 1976
Barbara Hepworth: ‘Two Forms Divided’. 1970
Rachel Whiteread: ‘House’. 1993
Trevor Tennant: ‘Girls Playing Netball’. 1958