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Large-scale installation by sculptor Richard Wentworth premieres at Indianapolis Museum of Art
Richard Wentworth, False Ceiling, 2005, Istanbul Museum of Modern Art Collection, Eczacıbaşı Group Donation. Photograph by Murat Germen.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN.- The Indianapolis Museum of Art unveiled renowned sculptor Richard Wentworth’s largest site-specific installation in North America.

Richard Wentworth: False Ceiling—Indianapolis debuts Sept. 25 and welcomes guests as they enter the Museum’s Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion. The large-scale work is Wentworth’s most ambitious installation to date—the only other of comparable size is a permanent commission at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. However, unlike that work, the Indianapolis installation provides two unique viewpoints from both the first and second floors of the Pavilion.

Often described as an alchemist of everyday things, Wentworth is known for transforming familiar matter into visual poetry. His book installations alter the appearance and meaning of his chosen site with beauty, invention and humor. Such works play on the nature of the book as a commonplace object yet powerful symbol of knowledge and culture, in both modern society and throughout history.

“When I had the chance to see Richard’s installation in Istanbul a few years ago, I was impressed by its engaging visual presence and its successful marriage with the surrounding architecture,” said Tricia Y. Paik, the IMA’s curator of contemporary art. “Richard has been able to achieve a similar result here, instead deploying the distinct spatial dynamics of our oval-shaped pavilion on two levels.”

False Ceiling—Indianapolis is made of books collected from a public book drive held over the summer. The two-month community drive, which ended Sept. 8, was conducted in partnership with Indy Reads Books, and donation boxes were available at the Museum and Indy Reads Books on Massachusetts Avenue. Any books not used in the installation will be donated to Indy Reads Books.

Paik continued, “This work is also Richard’s first book installation for which all the volumes were donated by the public. It’s truly meaningful that our community played such an integral part in the creation of this work.” Furthering this community involvement, sculpture students from IUPUI’s Herron School of Art and Design will assist Wentworth and his studio team in assembling the work.

Interactive activities will accompany the exhibition, including an opportunity for visitors to guess how many books were used to create the sculpture for a chance to win a prize. Guests can also vote for their favorite book genre and learn the favorite genres of IMA staff members.

The work will be on display through June 5, 2016.

In the late 1970s, Richard Wentworth emerged as one of the main figures of the New British Sculpture movement. As both an artist and teacher, Wentworth has greatly informed successive artistic generations. Born in 1947 in Samoa, Wentworth attended the Royal College of Art in London from 1966-70 and taught at Goldsmith’s College from 1971-87. In 2002 he became Master of Drawing at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University, and in 2009 was appointed Professor and Head of the Royal College of Art’s Sculpture Department, London. In 2011 Wentworth was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). The artist lives in London, England, and is represented by Peter Freeman, Inc., New York and Paris, and Lisson Gallery, London.

Major solo presentations include Black Maria with Gruppe, Kings Cross, London (2013); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2010); Tate Liverpool (2005); Artangel, King’s Cross, London (2002); Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, Germany (1998); Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle, Calais, France (1994); Serpentine Gallery, London (1993). Group exhibitions include the 50th and 52nd Venice Biennale (2003, 2009); the Tate Modern, London (2005); São Paulo Biennial, Brazil (2002); Serpentine Gallery, London (1995), among many others. His work is featured in many international museums, such as Tate Britain, London, England; Centro Cultural Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico; Auckland City Art Gallery, New Zealand; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland; Yorkshire Sculpture Park, England; Rhode Island School of Design, Museum of Art, Rhode Island; and the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Turkey.

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