LONDON.- The Crisis Commission sees some of the most celebrated artists of our day unite to bring major new works to a spectacular exhibition and auction in Spring 2012. The landmark event is a highlight of Londons art scene, bringing together contemporary artists of the highest calibre who have rarely, if ever, exhibited together before.
The exhibition takes place in one of Londons most prestigious venues, Somerset House, 14th March 22nd April 2012. A following auction of exhibited works will take place at Christies on Thursday 3rd May, with all proceeds going to Crisis, the UKs national charity for single homeless people. The cost of creating the works will be met by lead sponsor GlaxoSmithKline.
Leslie Morphy, Chief Executive of Crisis said: We are thrilled that so many leading contemporary artists are participating in the Crisis Commission. This prestigious event will raise much needed funds for our work and bring a new focus to the worrying current rise in homelessness in society.
Laurence Sillars, Curator of the Crisis Commission and Chief Curator at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, said: The Crisis Commission will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience major works from our greatest contemporary artists reacting to an issue that is sadly becoming ever more prominent in todays society homelessness. It is hugely exciting that artists of this calibre are right now making original works that will reflect on the exhibitions themes of isolation, property, security and space. I cant wait to install them in Somerset House for all to enjoy, but also to provoke thought on what it is like not to have a home.
Gwyn Miles, Director, Somerset House Trust said We are very proud to be working in partnership with Crisis again. And we are particularly pleased that such a stellar group of contemporary artists will be displaying their work in the newly restored East Wing at Somerset House. It is an exciting project and one which we are thrilled to present to the public.
Antony Gormley said: The most powerful social sculpture of our times is made by the quiet performances of the homeless within the shelter provided by the entrances to the shops and restaurants of our inner cities. This exhibition allows one to think about those bodies that have no place. I believe that sculpture can powerfully evoke the nameless, the voiceless and the placeless and I am proud to be part of and am inspired by this visionary project.
Responding to themes and issues relating to homelessness - isolation, property, security, space leading artists Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Yinka Shonibare, Jonathan Yeo, Gillian Wearing, Bob & Roberta Smith, Nika Neelova and Nathan Coley will all donate new works for the exhibition. Sir Anthony Caro will donate an existing work.
The Crisis Commission will raise funds for Crisis and awareness around a reality faced by an increasing number of people. As the economic downturn and austerity measures bite, homelessness is again on the rise in the UK.
After years of declining trends, 2010 marked the turning point when all forms of homelessness began to rise. Over the course of last year the number of people approaching their council as homeless has risen by 15%. 3,975 people slept rough in the capital during 2010/11, an 8 percent rise on the figure for the previous year. Research predicts that the combination of the continuing economic downturn and the Coalition Government's radical reforms to housing and welfare, particularly its cuts to Housing Benefit, will cause homelessness to increase yet further.
Homeless and vulnerably housed clients of Crisis will have their work exhibited alongside the established artists for the duration of the Crisis Commission. The clients will be drawn from Crisis year-round art classes, held at Crisis Skylight Centres in London, Newcastle, Birmingham, Merseyside and Oxford.
The Crisis Commission is pleased to be supported by eminent patrons in the art world: Julia Peyton Jones, Co-director of the Serpentine Gallery; Kathleen Soriano, Director of Exhibitions at Royal Academy of Arts; Francis Outred, International Director and Head of the Post-War and Contemporary Art for Christie's; Godfrey Worsdale, Director of BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art; and Daphne Guinness.