When Eden Court reopened in 2007, following a £25m extension and refurbishment, it did so with six site-specific artworks that responded to the building’s architecture, location and rich cultural history. Popular works include Donald Urquhart’s Sky Lined Forms on Eden Court’s six wind-towers, an artwork that changes with the Highland weather and which can be experienced even whilst we have been forced to briefly close our doors. If you’ve not noticed it before, make sure that you look up at the towers next time you wander past!
Like all aspects of the public realm, public art deteriorates over time, which is why much of it is not made to be permanent. For this reason, decommissioning is always an essential part of the commissioning process. This was the case at Eden Court, in which all six artworks were commissioned for ten years, their siting intended to be reviewed as the building evolved and developed following installation. One of the works that has sadly come to the end of its life is Kate Whiteford’s land-drawing, entitled Excavation, on the Eden Court’s lawn.
Many visitors to Eden Court will be familiar with Kate’s large-scale land-drawing, which is located on either side of the lawns as you approach Eden Court. Inspired by the relationship between landscape and history, the work is the result of an archaeological dig; the lawn stripped back to reveal symbols on a powerful scale, with motifs developed from research into carved Pictish and Celtic symbol stones found in the Highlands. A popular work, it has sadly deteriorated over time.
With the decommissioning of the artwork, and by resurfacing the area with lawn, we will be able to offer more public space for visitors to enjoy. In the summer months, this will mean that visitors to our popular Under Canvas event have more space to enjoy the best live music on our lawns.
The current global pandemic, and the continued need for social distancing, also means that additional lawn space will be needed for outdoor events.
Decommissioning artwork is a bit like saying goodbye to an old friend. But, like so much of the work we present on stage and screens at Eden Court, its magic is in its ephemeral and temporary nature. Gone, but not forgotten, Kate’s artwork will be remembered for intriguing many thousands of visitors to Eden Court over the past thirteen years.
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