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Artists create work from debris of Glasgow School of Art fire

Monday 30 January 2017
Words Spindle

25 international artists including Grayson Perry, Anish Kapoor, David Shrigley, and Jenny Saville have created work out of the debris recovered from the 2014 fire at Glasgow School of Art fire. The school’s west wing was most seriously damaged, including the Mackintosh library, which was originally designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. All of the art pieces – which range from photography to sculpture – will be on display at Christies as a show called ‘Ash to Art,’ and will then be put up for auction, hoping to raise £32 million towards the restoration of the library building. The Mackintosh Campus Appeal have raised £18.5 million so far.

The group of leading artists involved in the project have seven Turner prizes between them, also including Cornelia Parker, Antony Gormley, Tacita Dean, Peter Blake, Douglas Gordon, Conrad Shawcross, Simon Starling, Chantal Joffe, Martin Boyce, and The Chapman Brothers. Each artist received pieces of the damaged building that were specifically chosen for them alongside a note explaining what the debris was – including buy viagra through paypal charred timbers, books, and parts of furniture – where it was from and explaining the concept, but the brief was left open for each artist to interpret.

Grayson Perry created a ceramic urn etched with the words “Art is dead. Long live Art.” He commented, “It’s a tragedy. It’s the most famous art school building in Britain. It’s also the masterpiece of Mackintosh. It’s a double tragedy.” Speaking of his piece for the project, the artist said, “I was very excited when I received the box of charcoal. I had an idea almost immediately and the idea of making an urn was an obviously thing to do. The idea of memorialising or celebrating the difficulty – honouring the wound. It’s something I’m trying to do. Move on and make the most of it.”

‘Ash to Art’ will be on display at London’s Christie’s from 3-7th March, then auctioned at the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale on 8th March 2017.