|Standing Figure - Henry Moore 1950 (sited at Glenkiln 1951 - Stolen October 2013)|
|The Visitation - Jacob Epstein 1926 (sited at Glenkiln from 1954)|
There is a lovely introduction to the Glenkiln experience by my good pal Mary Smith - here
|The area of land that contain the Glenkiln Sculptures|
In the minds of the sculptors there was not the slightest intent that these were public works of art. I am using the term in the way I have defined it in other writing (see – here), rather they were conceived as private or gallery pieces and use their surroundings simply as a ’backdrop’ to their discourse with artistic tradition.
And yet, as a whole, I stand by my idea of the Glekiln Scupltures as an amazing work of public art. What I, and many other, experience at Glenkiln is being part of a shared secret and we all gladly share the responsibility of that secret. We know that it is truly remarkable that these works are just out in ‘normal’ (for Dumfriesshire) countryside – unprotected and unsignposted. Sometimes you can find Epstein’s ‘The Visitation’ sometimes it eludes you. It has become something we all eagerly share with our weekend visitors and vicariously enjoy their astonishment that such a thing can exist.
|Shenavall Bothy - Northern Highlands|
Against all the odds, what could be seen as a rich man playing tin soldiers in his enormous back garden turned into an expression of community, trust and the spirituality of place
|Erratic - one of my works at Cairnsmore....anyone finding Erratic is invited to pull out the bronze handle and drag the boulder to a new location|
The idea of shared ‘ownership’ of artworks in the land and the way that a relationship with artworks can cast new light on the way we see understand our surroundings has inspured me in works like ‘Cairnsmore’, ‘Quorum’, ‘Shinglehook', 'New Luce' and most recently ‘Lodestones’.
This bond of trust and community in the land is a precious, precious thing – it has been broken by the action of this weekend§ - we are all a much poorer as a result.
There is a whole other essay to be written about who works in landscape really belong to and what this says about who owns the land of Scotland. But for now I am still grieving for something lost that was special to me.
* Anyone wishing to know where I stand on landownership in Scotland might look at the work of Andy Wightman – I share many of Andy’s views
§ In 1995 vandals sawed the heads from Moore's King and Queen at Glenkiln, but they were reattached.