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Spitalfields Announces Eight-Strong Shortlist for Inaugural 45,000 Sculpture Prize
Kenny Hunter’s Scapegoat sees a hand-sculpted goat sit atop a stack of packing crates.

LONDON.- Eight artists have been shortlisted for the inaugural Spitalfields Sculpture Prize. The winning sculpture will be sited in one of London’s most high profile public spaces, Bishops Square, Spitalfields and will be seen by more than 70,000 people a week. There are no stock public art proposals among the shortlist - all of the chosen artists have proposed artworks that respond to the site’s urban and historic surroundings. The result is a diverse range of works that have contemporary relevance, from the technologically-inspired Citygate by Paul Friedlander to the sculpted stone plinth of Ryan Gander.

The public will be invited to vote for the one sculpture they think should appear in the Square. The eight shortlisted designs will be exhibited from 12th January to 12th February 2010 in the foyer of the Allen & Overy LLP offices on Bishops Square, next to the planned site of the sculpture. The public vote will be combined with the votes of the judges – including Nigel Hall, Sir Richard MacCormac and Alex Sainsbury - and the winning sculpture will go on display in October 2010.

The shortlisted sculptures are:

Wenqin Chen’s work Bring Out is a 10-metre stack of polished, red egg shapes in stainless steel which embodies the vigor and vitality of the sculpture’s location. It is a witty and strongly visual abstract work.

Cinimod Studio has developed a light installation inspired by the area’s history of dressmaking and silk trading. A rainbow of light bounces between a two huge needles created as light is shone from the eye of one through mist produced by the other and the cocoon of the silkworm sits at ground level.

Paul Friedlander has imagined a contemporary take on the gateway to the City that existed up until the mid 18th century. Here Friedlander builds on his previous 2D work looking at waves, in this instance holding them static and captured in time to form the outside of the gate. A ‘clockface’ screen will sit within the gate.

Ryan Gander‘s work is inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince, where a statue is gladly stripped of his riches by a swallow to help people in need around him. Carved in stone, the sculpture will depict a pile of rubble, the heart, sword and helmet of the prince along with the swallow. 50 school children from around Spitalfields will be asked to choose the two most precious things in the city to include in the sculpture.

Elpida Hadzi Vasileva wants to use a semi-transparent maze of woven metal sheets, using silver and copper threads like silk to create new vistas of Spitalfields. The public can wonder through its fragile, organic form and look at local landmarks in new ways.

Tod Hanson has designed a large built sculpture of a huge tailor’s dressform. Built in brick to represent the historic trade of Brick Lane, the shape is also that of a kiln and a chimney sits at the very top. The shape and silk patterns created with different colour bricks make it an ode to Spitalfields’ longstanding connection with the textile industry.

Nick Hornby proposes a large scale, multi-faceted sculpture that merges six different aspects of Spitalfields – from its famous Christ Church to the profile of the Spitalfields Woman on display at the British Museum. It is a consistently changing 3-D piece into which visitors can read different images as they circle it. Hornby’s work has previously featured at the Hayward Gallery and Tate Britain.

Kenny Hunter’s Scapegoat sees a hand-sculpted goat sit atop a stack of packing crates. A symbol of the various waves of migration that have found sanctuary in the area and helped to shape it, the goat also ties in with the various religious symbols of those communities that have made their homes nearby.

Spitalfields links the vibrancy of the City with the creativity of the East End and is itself a hub of commerce and the arts. New and historic buildings, landscaping and large piazzas combine to provide the ideal canvas for an inspirational and large scale sculpture.

Judges include sculptor Nigel Hall, architect Sir Richard MacCormac and Alex Sainsbury, Director of Raven Row. The winning sculpture will go on display in October 2010 for 18 months and will become a permanent part of the Spitalfields Public Art Collection, with the intention to create a sculpture park within the site featuring the winning sculptures of 2010 and beyond.

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