Tickets available for Sir Antony Gormley’s Field for the British Isles

Free tickets to view a major Sunderland art installation by one of the UK’s most celebrated artists are available.

Field for the British Isles by Sir Antony Gormley, creator of the Angel of the North, will be on display at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA) at National Glass Centre from July until September this year.

The Turner Prize-winning artwork comprises of 40,000 unique clay figures and hasn’t been on view in the north east of England since 1996.

Now Sunderland Culture has confirmed free tickets for ten-minute private viewings will be available from the NGCA’s website – Tickets can also be reserved in person at National Glass Centre, or by ringing 0191 515 5555.

Visitors can book tickets for themselves and up to five other people per ten-minute slot.

Alistair Robinson, Director at NGCA, said: “Due to the quiet, contemplative nature of the exhibition and the viewing space available, a maximum of six people can view the installation at a time. Timed entry tickets are available for a group of up to six people  to view the exhibition for ten minutes. This will allow us to safely manage entry into the gallery in order to give all visitors the best possible experience whilst viewing the work. 

“Only visitors who have pre-booked a slot will be granted access to the exhibition. 

“We’re thrilled that such a major installation is coming to the city, and Field for the British Isles will be the centrepiece of Sunderland Culture’s summer programme – we’ve already had massive interest so my advice would be to book early.”

The monumental installation comprises 40,000 small clay figures and was last in the region 25 years ago when it was on display at the former Greenesfield British Rail Works in Gateshead. More than 25,000 people flocked to the exhibition.

The artwork will be on loan from the prestigious Arts Council Collection, an important national loan collection of modern and contemporary British Art. Sunderland Culture is part of the Collection’s National Partners Programme which supports regional galleries and museums to present and curate exhibitions drawn from the Collection.

The project has been made possible thanks to an £18,000 grant from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund, and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund, the Weston Loan Programme is the first ever UK-wide funding scheme to enable regional museums to borrow works of art and artefacts from national collections.

Field for the British Isles was chosen by Sunderland Culture’s Art Champions, a group of nine local people with no formal arts training but a passion and interest to discover more about modern and contemporary art.

In winter 2019, the Art Champions were introduced to the Arts Council Collection; visiting the Collection Stores where they handled figures from Field for the British Isles and learnt about the use of community collaborators in its creation. On completing the artwork in 1993, Gormley specified it had to be installed with help from volunteers co-ordinated by the host venue – to instill a sense of ownership in the project. Encountering the work provoked a strong response in Sunderland’s Art Champions, and led to the request to bring the installation to the city.

It will be the first time Gormley has exhibited in Sunderland.

Alistair added: “Visitors can be reassured that we will be following all social distancing and Covid-secure measures set out by Government.

“We ask visitors to head to the gallery five or ten minutes before their allocated time – tickets can be printed off at home, or shown using your mobile phone. Photography for personal use is permitted, but visitors will not be able to touch the installation.”

Visitors can enjoy a packed summer programme throughout National Glass Centre for the duration of the exhibition with activities inspired by the work of Gormley, including a family trail and ceramics workshops, family days, takeaway ceramics kits, a film and a digital/print exhibition resource.

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