Eames-inspired mobile by Martin Boyce acquired for Leeds Art Gallery with help from The Art Fund

  • 28 May 2009

Independent charity The Art Fund announced today that a work by leading Scottish artist Martin Boyce has been acquired by the Henry Moore Institute on behalf of Leeds Art Gallery. The work will become part of Leeds Art Gallery's permanent collection.

Phantom and Fall is a hanging mobile inspired by the work of American designers Ray and Charles Eames. The Art Fund gave a grant of £8,000 towards the acquisition. Other funding came from the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and Leeds City Council. The acquisition coincides with Boyce’s inauguration on 7 June as the first artist to represent Scotland at the Venice Biennale with a solo show.

Ray Eames and her husband Charles are best known for the moulded plywood chair they designed together in 1945, which has since become a modern design classic. However, the two designers first made their name in World War Two when they were commissioned by the US navy to create moulded plywood splints and stretchers for wounded troops.

Boyce took inspiration from the Eames’ war effort to create Phantom and Fall. The work comprises three re-worked fragments of Eames leg splints suspended from two horizontal metal strips.

Phantom and Fall is also inspired by the work of artist Alexander Calder who began creating distinctive, colourful mobiles in the 1930s. By paying homage to Calder in a piece inspired by wartime leg splints, Boyce sets up an uncomfortable dichotomy between playfulness and the ravages of war.

Phantom and Fall is unique in its particular form, but can be likened to other works by the artist held at Tate, Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art and Scottish Gallery of Modern Art. Phantom and Fall will complement two pieces by Calder held at Leeds Gallery, as well as other modernist works by Hans Arp, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.

Andrew Macdonald, Deputy Director of The Art Fund, said: "This eye-catching mobile is a wonderful example of Martin Boyce’s unusual and creative take on modernist design. Securing Phantom and Fall for Leeds Art Gallery in the year that Boyce represents Scotland at Venice is wonderful news, and fulfils The Art Fund’s principle aim – to inspire people around the UK with great art."

Penelope Curtis, Curator, Henry Moore Institute, said: "We pursued this acquisition as a way of building up our contemporary holdings while responding to the past. Martin Boyce pursues this in all his work, more or less mysteriously."

Martin Boyce was born in 1967 in Hamilton, Scotland and graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1990. His work for the 53d Venice Biennale is entitled No Reflections and is on display at the Palazzo Pisani, Venice from 7 June to 22 November. It will then go on show at Dundee Contemporary Arts, 12 December to 14 February 2009. Other current projects include an outdoor public commission for a new cancer research building at MIT in Boston.

Phantom and Fall will be on view at Leeds Art Gallery later this year in a new display curated by Sophie Raikes focusing on contemporary sculptors’ re-use of classic modernism.

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Notes to editors:

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 www.artfund.org .

The Art Fund is a Registered Charity No. 209174

The Henry Moore Institute is a centre dedicated to the study of sculpture and is located in the heart of Leeds. Its programming comprises three integrated elements dedicated to sculpture: collections, exhibitions and research. The Henry Moore Institute is part of The Henry Moore Foundation.