Sam Taylor-Wood photograph acquired for Nottingham with help from The Art Fund

  • 16 March 2009

A brand new photograph by British contemporary artist Sam Taylor-Wood has been purchased by Nottingham City Museums and Galleries, thanks to help from the The Art Fund, the UK's leading independent art charity, and the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund. It is the first piece by the artist to enter the Museum's collection, and goes on show today, Monday 16th March, at Nottingham Castle.

The £22,000 purchase was made possible thanks to a £9,000 grant from The Art Fund and £10,000 from the V&A /MLA Purchase Grant Fund.

Escape Artist (Multicoloured) features the artist hanging mid-air, apparently suspended from a cluster of multi-coloured balloons tied around her hips. The work is part of the artist’s Escape Artist series – a new project by Taylor-Wood, tapping into her continued interest in representing her own body in works of art.

In order to create the illusion of the artist floating in space, all traces of the suspension system have been digitally removed from the photograph. The resulting image is both ambiguous and playful – eight balloons apparently have the power to lift Taylor-Wood above the ground, whilst the artist herself appears weightless. This photograph and the wider Escape Artist project follows on from Taylor-Wood’s Self Portraits Suspended series, created in 2005.

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: "This work, with its colourful balloons and visual trickery, has instant appeal. The Art Fund’s core purpose is to give people all over the UK access to exciting works of art, and we’re delighted to have helped Nottingham City Museums and Galleries to secure its first piece by Sam Taylor-Wood."

Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Communities, Leisure and Culture said: "We are delighted that the Purchase Grant Fund and the Art Fund have helped us to acquire this work, it is a really striking photograph that will complement the Fine Art displays at the Castle. It is wonderful to be able to add work by a photographer as important as Sam Taylor-Wood to our collection. "

Janet Davies, Head of the Purchase Grant Fund said: "We are pleased to support this acquisition as Nottingham City Museums and Galleries has an excellent track record in collecting contemporary photography. This and the city’s wider collections offer a valuable context for Escape Artist (Multicoloured)."

Since 1921, The Art Fund has helped Nottingham City Museums and Galleries to buy over 60 works of art.

The work goes on show today, Monday 16th March, and will be on display in E Gallery on the first floor of the Castle.


Notes to editors:

For more information or images please contact Marina Bradbury at The Art Fund press office, 020 7225 4819,, or Norma Smith, Media Officer at Nottingham City Council, on 0115 915 4681,

About the artist:

Sam Taylor-Wood was born in London in 1967. She studied at Goldsmiths alongside Jake Chapman, Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas, and like them made an impact as one of the ‘Young British Artists’ or YBAs. Her work often examines the ‘split between being and appearance’.

About The Art Fund:

The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art. It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections. Recent achievements include: helping secure Titian’s Diana and Actaeon for the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Gallery, London in February 2009 with a grant of £1 million; helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1million; and running the ‘Buy a Brushstroke’ public appeal which raised over £550,000 to keep Turner’s Blue Rigi watercolour in the UK. For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit .

The Art Fund is a Registered Charity No. 209174

About the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund:

The MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund is a government fund that helps regional museums, record offices and specialist libraries in England and Wales to acquire objects relating to the arts, literature and history.

It was established at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in 1881 and continues to be part of its nationwide work.The annual grants budget, currently £1,000,000, is provided by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). Each year it considers some 250 applications and awards grants to around 100 organisations, enabling acquisitions of over £4 million to go ahead. Visit the website:

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