The Contemporary Art Society exists to develop public collections of contemporary art across the UK. We do so by raising funds and brokering partnerships in order to purchase, commission and gift works of art to public collections. We work closely with over 64 museums and galleries across the UK that subscribe as members. Over the last 100 years we have played a unique and largely solitary role in the formation of public collections of contemporary art in this country, donating more than 8000 works where they are enjoyed by audiences everywhere.
Mary Redmond, Pick a Mango, 2011
Commissioned for Paisley Museum & Art Galleries
Laure Prouvost, Monolog, 2009
Acquired for Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester
Paisley Museum holds a nationally important collection of textiles, alongside a significant ceramic collection and ‘fine’ art collection of historic and modern paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture. Recent additions have focused on art works that challenge the traditional dichotomy between ‘fine’ and ‘decorative’ art. The institution’s membership of the National Collecting Scheme for Scotland, initially administered through the Contemporary Art Society, has been integral to this development.
Mary Redmond graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1998. In 2009 Redmond won a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Artist Award which provided invaluable support over a three year period. Redmond, working in the medium of sculpture, uses a mixture of found objects and raw materials which are altered, shaped, bent, bashed or painted and then meticulously worked and placed together.
For this commission Redmond suggested making a new work in direct response to their collection. Paisley Museum allowed her full access and it was the beautiful and rarely-seen textile pattern books which inspired this work. Redmond’s repeated use of a single familiar element, the levered spoke of an umbrella, creates a fragile wave-like sculptural shape that refers to the Paisley motif which was originally drawn from a feather.
Image credits: Mary Redmond, detail of Pick a Mango 2011 © the artist. Photo by Ruth Clark.
Whitworth Art Gallery is situated in the grounds of The University of Manchester. It was established in 1889 to inspire the region’s textile industry, give pleasure to Manchester citizens and to instruct students and artists about the visual arts. It now has one of the best collections of works on paper, wallpapers and flat textiles in the country. As a University Art Gallery the Whitworth sees its role as a creative laboratory for ideas about contemporary visual culture and actively prioritises the collection of art, both British and international, that interrogates place, politics and identity.
Laure Prouvost graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2010. She has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally and received the Max Mara Prize for Women in 2011. Prouvost’s work moves between film, performance, sound and site specific installation, it often plays with the relationship between director, performer, audience and the architecture of viewing.
The provocative and eloquent film Monolog won the 56th Oberhausen Short Film Principal Prize in 2010. It is a witty and direct challenge to the notion of the artist’s identity and institutional regulations imposed upon the viewing of art and the behaviour of a supposedly captive audience. At a time when the Whitworth is embarking upon a redevelopment of its gallery spaces and is closely exploring the experience of its visitors, Prouvost’s work is a timely addition to the gallery’s rich and varied collection of historic and contemporary art.
Image credits: Laure Prouvost, still from Monolog 2009, © the artist, courtesy the artist and MOT International.