This new work by Glasgow-based artist Alex Frost was commissioned by Cove Park as part of GENERATION: a nationwide celebration of 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland.
Developed during two residencies in 2013 and 2014, the work consisted of a series of temporary sculptures located at four points across Cove Park’s 50-acre site. The work considered the sensitivities of the location and provided a counterpoint to the rather eccentric existing collection of architecture on site.
Frost’s work began with a structure that recreated John Kibble’s first version of what is now known as the Kibble Palace: the iconic glasshouses at Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens in the west end of the city. This early version, commissioned by Kibble for his house near Coulport, was extended before it was sailed down the Clyde to Glasgow in 1873, where Kibble intended it would act as a ‘Crystal Art Palace’, hosting concerts and talks and housing sculptures.
In addition to this new folly were three ruin sites, made primarily from sand and water and based upon elements reminiscent of Victorian sandstone architecture. These sites eventually dissolved into the ground (with some extra help from the wind, rain, sun, cows and sheep). As the forms degraded, coins, bones, and ceramic elements within these structures revealed themselves, acting as an archaeological site in reverse.
To complement each sculpture, Frost sourced poems and prose written by a number of Cove Park’s literary residents (Polly Clark, Joe Dunthorne, WN Herbert and Nicola White). These works all refer to the specific character of Cove Park, as either an outstanding natural landscape, a place of contemplation, or its proximity to Coulport – the site since 1963 of the Royal Navy Armaments Depot, built on the original site of Kibble’s home and conservatory.
Born in London, Alex Frost lives and works in Glasgow. His most recent solo exhibitions include: Reproduction, Glasgow Print Studios Gallery, 2014; Self-Defence and Other Hobbies, The Park Gallery, Falkirk, 2013; Future Spotters (Kassel, 1987 & Muenster, 2013), Wewerka Pavilion, Muenster, Germany, 2013; The Old & New Easterhouse Mosaic (& everything in between), Platform, 2012; The Connoisseurs, Dundee Contemporary Arts, 2010.
Cove Park, founded by Eileen and Peter Jacobs in 1999, is an international residency centre. Artists live and work on site, in unique units of accommodation (‘Pods’ sourced from BBC’s Castaway programme filmed on Taransay, and ‘Cubes’ made from converted shipping containers), for anything between a week and three months.
GENERATION was a major, nation-wide exhibition programme showcasing some of the best and most significant artists to have emerged from Scotland over the last 25 years. It was delivered as a partnership between the National Galleries of Scotland, Glasgow Life and Creative Scotland, as part of Culture 2014, the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme.