A newly commissioned sculpture by artist David Nash is set to be revealed in the industrial landscape of Coalbrookdale, the very place that inspired it. Part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, the site is recognised as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. The installation of Nash’s sculpture will mark the launch of a contemporary arts programme, ‘Shifting Worlds’, running throughout 2015.
Entitled ‘Three Black Humps’ the monumental artwork, standing some 2 metres high, is made from charred wood, sourced from a ‘wood quarry’ using wood that has come to the end of its natural life, and will be embedded in a circle of crushed coal, reflecting the cycle and history of iron. Going on display from Monday 22 June, the sculpture will be set against the evocative backdrop of the brick remains of former Coalbrookdale Company buildings and positioned next to the Old Furnace where Abraham Darby perfected the technique of smelting iron with coke rather than coal in 1709.
Shifting Worlds will introduce visitors to an extensive line-up of events and artist-led activities over the next six months, all of which will centre around the impact of the Industrial Revolution and reflect on current challenges around its legacy. These will include artist Faye Claridge who will take up residency in the Darby Houses where she’ll be running workshops and creating multi-media artwork, while children’s arts charity, The House of Fairy Tales, will descend on the site to produce a family friendly festival (22 August).
Renowned for his dramatic works that respond to the natural environment, David Nash says, “Iron starts with natural landform, its materials and creative intelligence. Natural resources were combined at first in simple experiment; simple yet fundamental. As an artist this is also where I start, gathering natural materials from the land and putting them through basic process - sawing, carving, burning - to find meaningful forms”.
Shifting Worlds has been funded by Arts Council England through a collaboration between the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, the education and heritage conservation charity that operates the ten award-winning museums in the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, Telford and Meadow Arts, the Shropshire based charitable organisation that produces exceptional contemporary art projects in unusual places, bringing high quality contemporary art to areas where few other facilities exist.
‘Three Black Humps’ will be available to view by the public free of charge from 22 June 2015 and will remain at Coalbrookdale for 12 months. For more information about Shifting Worlds, visit www.ironbridge.org.uk and www.meadowarts.org