Sir Antony Gormley, the Turner Prize winning artist and creator of the Angel Of The North Sculpture in Gateshead is to curate the 2017 Koestler Awards exhibition of art by offenders, secure patients, and immigration removal centre detainees.
“It’s a very sad thing if we think that art is something which can only be found in art galleries or museums” – ANTONY GORMLEY
“I want to celebrate this great resource: the imaginations of the 85,000 prisoners currently in UK prisons and those in secure establishments,” Gormley said in a statement. “Art is a place in which you can do what you like; it need not be for or about anyone else but the artist. In the words of one prisoner, ‘in our minds, we can always be free’. I want this work to say something to all of us outside about what it feels like to be a detainee, inside,” The artist added.
This year’s show responds to the theme ‘Inside’, set by Gormley with input from prisoners, and aims to get people talking about the UK’s criminal justice system.The artworks are selected from over 7,000 pieces of fine art, design, writing, and music entered to this year’s Koestler Awards.
Gormley is an artist who continually tries to identify the space of art as a place of becoming, in which new behaviours, thoughts and feelings can arise, He describes how he wanted to encourage the artists of this year’s exhibition to draw on the ‘limitlessness’ of the mind in their work.
As someone who has always looked to take his work beyond gallery spaces, and other locations in which art may be perceived to belong, Gormley, perhaps understandably, tells us how he views the Koestler exhibition as a key opportunity for him, and us, to discover a place where art arises without the constructed labels of its environment.
Past exhibitions have been curated by Grayson Perry, Jeremy Deller, and Sarah Lucas.
Inside, art by offenders, secure patients, and detainees, is exhibited at Southbank Centre from Thursday 21 September – Wednesday 15 November.