About this project
'Seven billion two hundred and one million nine hundred and sixty-four thousand two hundred and thirty-eight' will be the number of people on planet earth at the moment Gavin Turk's first solo exhibition of neons opens at The Bowes Museum.
Turk, one of the Young British Artists, renowned in the 90s for their shock tactics and use of throwaway materials, has designed the neon work, the world's population in numbers, especially for the exhibition at The Bowes Museum. We would like to raise the funds to realise its manufacture and installation on the front of our 19th century French style façade. It will be turned on at the start of the exhibition and we hope will be visible for miles around until 21st April when it draws to a close.
The Bowes Museum was founded by a local business man, John Bowes who met and married his wife Joséphine, a French actress, in Paris. As well as a love for each other, they shared a love of fine and decorative art and together they began collecting a vast array of beautiful artefacts including paintings, furniture, glass, ceramics, silver, toys and textiles. They decided to build a Museum to house their collection in rural Teesdale, part of the Durham Dales. Sadly the couple never lived to see their magnificent Museum open in 1892.
In 2005, the Museum began a series of ambitious developments to improve the visitor experience and refurbish the galleries. Today our galleries are designed to create the perfect setting in which to enjoy the amazing plethora of objects and art. And to attract new audiences, and help build our reputation as a Museum fit for the 21st century, we have developed a strand of contemporary art and fashion exhibitions to complement our traditional, family and local history exhibitions. So far, we have been host to an extremely popular exhibition of Damien Hirst Prints, a Vivienne Westwood Shoes exhibition, a stunning exhibition of hats by international milliner Stephen Jones, a feast of bronzes by Keith Coventry and most recently a cutting edge exhibition of landscapes and surreal fantasy worlds in an exhibition of Tim Walker’s photography.
Gavin Turk’s exhibition, curated by Greville Worthington, former Turner Prize judge, will bring together for the first time all of his neon works, signature pieces created between 1995 and 2013. Set within a darkened gallery, Turk’s neons will shine out like luminous symbols, an egg, a banana, a lobster, a seeing eye, a flickering flame and one of Turk’s trademark doors which either opens or closes, depending on which way you look at it, onto infinite possibilities and nothingness, alike.
Neon is a modernist medium now rendered obsolete by digital LED. In this collaboration with Gavin Turk, we really want to achieve this installation of a neon work alluding to the ever-growing world’s population on the outside of our 19th century building, a feat of engineering in itself. In creating this neon and broadcasting this number from the French façade we want to invite visitors to walk through the Museum’s door into Gavin Turk’s enchanting realms of the imagination and beyond.
Our Favourite Rewards for Donations to our Ambitious Project
We really appreciate your support for and backing of our project to create what is essentially the largest neon work which Gavin Turk has ever made, and install it on the front of our Museum. Just knowing that you are behind us and want to be involved in making this happen means a lot. However, we'd like to send you a token of our appreciation ranging from bags and badges to limited edition pieces of Gavin Turk art.
Risks and challenges
We'd love to make this happen and once the project is successfully funded, we have few risks to overcome, other than the logistics of installing the very special and large neon on the front of our building. We have risk assessed the installation, and the manufacturers are aware of the conditions the neon will face on the front of our Museum for three months in blustery conditions in January through to April in North East England! Setbacks could only result in adverse weather conditions affecting the installation in time for the opening of the exhibition, but we will do our best to install the neon broadcasting the number of people on planet earth in time for the opening of Gavin Turk's first solo exhibition of neon works.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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