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(No) Ordinary Architecture: York Art Gallery

14th July 2016

The first artwork to be created especially for York Art Gallery’s new Artists’ Garden will be revealed this August. Foundation Myths is a new commission by Ordinary Architecture, an art, architecture and design practice with an international profile.

The installation, produced especially for the Artists’ Garden, draws on the rich history of the site and its many uses over the centuries. It is inspired by the persistent myth that architecture evolves directly from nature and refers to the area’s former use as an orchard as well as the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey within the abbey precinct.

This is the first work to be shown in the Artists’ Garden which is part of a new two acres of space recently opened to the public.

Laura Turner, curator of art, said: “Foundation Myths cleverly intertwines the many threads of history which run through the gardens as well as drawing inspiration from the ceramics on show in the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA). In doing so it creates something completely new: a visually stimulating and playful artwork which we think people will enjoy interacting with while learning more about this previously hidden corner of the gardens.”

Charles Holland, of Ordinary Architecture, said: “Part of the St. Mary’s Abbey precinct, the site for the Artists Garden has a very rich history and has been home to a remarkable number of uses. These include orchards, gardens, a plant nursery, military ‘hutments’ and the Great Hall of the Yorkshire Fine Art and Industrial Exhibition.

“Our proposal springs from these rich associations and aims to make a striking and beautiful artwork that is critically engaged with its site. In making reference to CoCA and the history of the area, we also hope that it makes a fitting first commission for this important gallery setting.”

The new commission will officially open to the public on 13 August 13 and is free. The exact details of the installation will be revealed through York Art Gallery’s Twitter and Facebook pages in the coming weeks.

The Artists’ Garden is situated within the original abbey walls at the rear of York Art Gallery. Together with the Edible Wood, it was created to coincide with the £8 million development of York Art Gallery. The two acres of land was previously closed off to the public, but now links with the original York Museum Gardens, Marygate as well as Exhibition Square through a new snickleway to the side of the gallery. There is now also a new café in the Pavilion, run by Café No8, which serves sandwiches, cakes and drinks.

Foundation Myths is the first commission for the site which will be used to display new and exciting artworks for free.

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