On 14 September the Dulwich Picture Gallery will unveil a new, permanent sculpture in its grounds. Walking the Dog by acclaimed artist Peter Randall-Page is being presented to the Gallery by the Art Fund
to mark its 2011 bicentenary. It is the first contemporary sculpture to be acquired for Dulwich - the UK's first public art gallery.
Peter Randall-Page has gained an international reputation through his sculpture, drawings and prints. Novelist, historian and academic Marina Warner has written extensively on his work. To celebrate this work were giving to Dulwich, she shares with us some extracts from a piece she wrote in 2009:
"Peter Randall-Page makes one body of pleasure after another it was this strand in his work that first captured my admiration and inspired joy in me when in the Eighties at the Contemporary Art Society annual show, I saw the series of antic, almost absurdist, dancing bronze figurines he had made by squeezing the earth in his hand, hollowing out the body of the form with his thumb like a potter shaping the bowl. I bring one of these pieces into my creative writing class at Essex and invite the students to write in response without any prompting , they find themselves sparked, lit up, the life which Peter has discovered in the inert material jumping out into their minds, like a firebrand passed from him to them.
"Peter's work possesses qualities of ravelling and unravelling labyrinths on the surface, of arranging and discovering symmetries, of excavating the spirit of the stone, and it involves us in memories of experiences that are deeply connected to pleasure, to good energy, to the comfort and the delight of contact of being enfolded, squeezed, released, nuzzled... whatever - I shan't go on as I shall embarrass you and myself too. But the first thing most of us ever made, remember, was a mud pie, and the relations of playing and sculpture go very deep."*
Walking the Dog is inspired directly by the architecture of the Dulwich Picture Gallery. It will be on permanent display in the grounds of the Dulwich Picture Gallery from 14 September.
During the week of 13 September, two further Peter Randall-Page exhibitions will be opening in South London at the Purdy Hicks Gallery and at the Jerwood Space. See press release below for further details.