A new sculpture by world-renowned sculptor Antony Gormley will be revealed later this year at the new Kirklees College Pioneer Higher Skills Centre in Dewsbury.
The sculpture, titled WORK, has been loaned to the college and will sit on the rooftop of the Victorian building, formerly known as Pioneer House, an iconic Grade II Listed building that has been renovated and transformed into a new centre for higher skills and education.
Made of cast iron, WORK is an early example of Antony Gormley’s ‘Beamer’ series, which investigates the space of a human body by using the structures of the body that normally contain it. The sculpture is made up of a network of interlocking beams, suggesting that the body is as much a register of space as it is a displacer of it. It is constructed from blocks and beams set to x/y/z coordinates, containing voids that allow space to penetrate the body. It looks outwards to the horizon.
WORK marks the launch the Dewsbury Public Art Plan: Creative Town. This initiative is part of the wider Dewsbury Blueprint which seeks to honour the heritage of the town and build on recent investments. The installation of WORK builds on the sculptures of the Rugby player and Mill worker that represents Dewsbury’s heritage, and the Good Samaritan sculpture outside the Town Hall, representing the town’s values.
The project has been part-funded through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal, delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and the LEP, supported by Kirklees College, Kirklees Council, The Arts Council, The Heritage Lottery Fund and The Dewsbury Townscape Heritage Initiative.
Speaking about his latest sculpture, Antony Gormley commented: “I am delighted to mount WORK on the roof of Pioneer House as a celebration of our hands-on making culture. I hope that it also expresses something of the character of the place: rugged and determined but open to light, space and the future.
Having spent a lot of my childhood in Yorkshire, I came to love its open moors and strong communities that coexist within an open landscape.
Yorkshire has a long association with the dynamic relationship between mining, manufacturing and engineering, and a rich heritage in all forms of industrial fabrication. It is an honour for me to have a work on the skyline of this fine building created by the co-operative movement, that expresses so well the spirit of the town and region. I intend the work to be part of that history and of the building, but also to look out to the wider world.”
Oliver Boothroyd, Creative Lecturer in Art and Design at Kirklees College said: “The heritage and regeneration work in Dewsbury were key to bringing this project to life. As well as bringing this work to our new Pioneer Higher Skills Centre, we will also be launching a school’s engagement project in Kirklees. This will enable the college to interact with people of all ages in the local community by raising awareness of public sculpture and the arts.”
Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader, Kirklees Council added: “It is an exciting time for Dewsbury and for Kirklees, our Blueprint plans have culture at the heart and it is truly exciting to kick start this journey with an amazing artist! I am proud to be working in partnership with Kirklees College to celebrate Antony Gormley’s WORK on Pioneer House for all to see and enjoy.”
For more information about the Pioneer Higher Skills Centre, please visit https://www.kirkleescollege.ac.uk/pioneer-higher-skills-centre/.