Dead space? Birmingham Central Library transformed by Lucy McLauchlan


Dead space?

A quiet corner of the condemned Birmingham Central Library has been
transformed by artist Lucy McLauchlan as part of a series of
experimental exhibitions called Dead space? By Claire Farrell, Arts
Producer EC-Arts.

Artist Lucy McLauchlan’s work is site specific.  Originally from

Birmingham she works all over the world exhibiting in galleries and

within the public realm. Lucy has recently been published in ‘Beyond

the Street – the 100 leading figures in Urban Art”.

Artist statement

On concrete and glass, plants and birds appear reclaiming what will
soon disappear.

Look around the city buildings stand now disused and forgotten.

Nature reappears in their cracks. Weeds, shrubs, tress and birds make

their homes.

Is there such a things as dead space?

Lucy’s artwork highlights this question as a contradiction.

On a quiet corner of the condemned Central Library we learn Todo es
posible, anything is possible.

The current building was opened in 1974 and is the third library in
the vicinity. It was designed by Architect John Madin, its inverted
ziggurat form is an unintentional powerful example of the Brutalist
style. With the Rotunda tower and the Alpha Tower, it is one of
Birmingham’s key Modernist buildings.

The exhibitions will use the large window on the lower ground floor of
the Central Library. The window faces Congreve Passage; the artists
will experiment with various art forms interpreting the window in
three different ways.  The large window and room beyond it, due to
access and constraints has no permanent function for the library to
engage people in or out of the building.

The Royal Society for Arts West Midlands (RSA) have supported and
sponsored the project.  The RSA will collaborate with EC-Arts, the
Central Library and Birmingham City University to host a series of
talks as the project evolves, opening discussions and debates about
Birmingham’s existing and future public art strategy.


Notes to editors

·      Dead space? Is a project conceived and produced by Claire
Farrell of EC-Arts, and has been made possible by with
the kind support of Royal Society for Arts West Midlands, Birmingham
City Council, Central Library and Birmingham City University BIAD

·      The project is an experimental series of public art
exhibitions, and part of EC-Arts objectives to create accessible art
within the public realm.

·      Artist Lucy McLauchlan works all over the world, and is
represented by Lazarides Gallery, London

·      Lucy McLauchlan

·      The project has been supported and sponsored by The Royal
Society For Arts West Midlands.

·      Project supported in kind by the Central Library, Birmingham
City Council and Birmingham City University (BIAD)


EC-Arts objectives as a creative organisation are to utilise dead
spaces within the public realm; from fire stations, hoardings,
billboards, wasteland, buildings and windows by animating them with
visual art, performance or music. The Festival of Xtreme Building
investigated the potential of utilising dead space creatively in 2007;
the concept continues to evolve, and projects are inspired by the
artists and musicians we work with.

The exhibitions will last approximately 6 weeks and will coincide with
programmed talks facilitated by The Royal Society for Arts in
collaboration with the artists.  The RSA will utilise the project to
articulate the lack of a city-wide public art strategy and
passionately takes up the challenge of creating accessible public art
in imaginative sites. Working with the artists, the partners are
looking to promote the concept that public art need not be
prohibitively expensive and that by using every day venues it can
stimulate both reflection and aspiration.

Other exhibitions to follow

Pete Ashton

“Looking though Birmingham” 12th May – 17th June 2011

Photographer Pete Ashton has been capturing everyday life, people and
places within Birmingham.  He has created a series of slow animations
made of sequential photographs taken through a home-made lens made out
of a vintage camera, a process called “Through The Viewfinder”.   His
subject is ‘ordinary Birmingham scenes’ capturing different
perspectives by positioning his camera from interesting heights and
angles.  Turning the ordinary into extra-ordinary through his

Matt Watkins

‘Regeneration X’ 23rd June – 29th July 2011

An experienced animator and graphic artist (Beat13, Gorillaz), Matt
draws inspiration from the continually evolving state of Birmingham,
it’s legacy of industrial heritage and the struggle to re-invent
itself. Combining found imagery with his own photography and
paintings, Matt will create large collages of characters caught
in-between states; the old reconciling with the new, the real
responding to the virtual, man merging with machine.

For more information please contact Claire Farrell,  EC-Arts Mobile
0780 450 7172

A piece of PR we couldn’t be bothered to re-write.

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