World’s Most Celebrated Artists To Tackle Homelessness

Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Anthony Caro and others come together for major new exhibition to raise funds in the fight against homelessness

The Crisis Commission will see some of the world’s most celebrated artists come together to raise funds to battle homelessness – Antony Gormley, Tracey Emin, Sir Anthony Caro, Yinka Shonibare, Gillian Wearing, Jonathan Yeo, Bob & Roberta Smith, Nathan Coley and Nika Neelova

This is set to be a landmark event, bringing together contemporary artists of the highest calibre who have rarely, if ever, exhibited together before. The exhibition takes place in one of London’s most prestigious venues, Somerset House, 14th March – 22nd April 2012. This will be followed by an auction of exhibited works at Christie’s on Thursday 3rd May, with all proceeds going to Crisis, the UK’s national charity for single homeless people.

Responding to themes and issues relating to homelessness (isolation, property, security, space) leading artists Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Yinka Shonibare, Jonathan Yeo, Gillian Wearing, Bob & Roberta Smith, Nika Neelova and Nathan Coley will all donate new works for the exhibition. Sir Anthony Caro will donate an existing work.

Laurence Sillars, Curator of the Crisis Commission, said: ‘The Crisis Commission will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience major works from our greatest contemporary artists reacting to an issue that is sadly becoming ever more prominent in today’s society – homelessness’.

The Crisis Commission will raise funds for Crisis and awareness around a reality faced by an increasing number of people. After years of declining trends, 2010 marked the turning point when all forms of homelessness began to rise. Over the course of last year the number of people approaching their council as homeless has risen by 15%. 3,975 people slept rough in the capital during 2010/11, an 8 percent rise on the figure for the previous year. Research predicts that the combination of the continuing economic downturn and the Coalition Government’s radical reforms to housing and welfare, particularly its cuts to Housing Benefit, will cause homelessness to increase yet further.

In the words of participating artist Antony Gormley: ‘The most powerful social sculpture of our times is made by the quiet performances of the homeless within the shelter provided by the entrances to the shops and restaurants of our inner cities. This exhibition allows one to think about those bodies that have no place. I believe that sculpture can powerfully evoke the nameless, the voiceless and the placeless and I am proud to be part of and am inspired by this visionary project. The work that I am making tries to evoke a fallen body that is nevertheless not at rest.”’

Leslie Morphy, Chief Executive of Crisis said: ‘We are thrilled that so many leading contemporary artists are participating in the Crisis Commission. This prestigious event will raise much needed funds for our work and bring a new focus to the worrying current rise in homelessness in society.’

Gwyn Miles, Director, Somerset House Trust said ‘We are very proud to be working in partnership with Crisis again.  And we are particularly pleased that such a stellar group of contemporary artists will be displaying their work in the newly restored East Wing at Somerset House.  It is an exciting project and one which we are thrilled to present to the public’.

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