Time is running out for you to see a major art installation by one of the UK’s most celebrated artists in Sunderland.
Field for the British Isles by Sir Antony Gormley, creator of the Angel of the North, has been on display at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA) at National Glass Centre since late July – but visitors only have until Friday, September 24 to see the monumental installation, comprising of 40,000 small clay figures.
The artwork has been hugely popular, with many days of visiting slots booked weeks in advance. The first fortnight of ten-minute private viewings were booked solid, and weekend slots have also been very popular. Available tickets, which are free, can be booked through the NGCA’s website- www.northerngalleryforcontemporaryart.org.uk, 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. Only visitors who have pre-booked a slot will be granted access to the exhibition.
Alastair Robinson, Director at NGCA, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the response to Field for the British Isles, not just in terms of numbers coming to see the installation, but by people’s individual responses to it.
“Many have found it moving; others life affirming and joyous – but most have agreed that it has been given extra resonance by the ongoing Covid pandemic. We’ve had people saying it has reminded them of what it’s like being in a crowd again, while others have suggested an element of ‘we’re all in this together.’
“Demand for tickets has been very high, but we do still have a few timed slots for our last few days.”
More than 3,500 people have visited the installation since July 24, despite numbers being restricted because of Covid precautions.
Field for the British Isles was last in the region 25 years ago when it was on display at the former Greenesfield British Rail Works in Gateshead.
In July a team of 25 volunteers worked over three days to install the exhibition at NGCA, many of them students from University of Sunderland.
The artwork is 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. Several Arts Champions helped install the artwork.
Last winter, the Art Champions were introduced to the Arts Council Collection; visiting the Collection Stores in Leeds where they handled figures from Field for the British Isles and learnt about the use of community collaborators in its creation. 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 is the first time Gormley has exhibited in Sunderland. For more information, go to www.northerngalleryforcontemporaryart.org.uk