Borland’s ghostly tribute to WWI
A major, though-provoking sculpture by Turner nominee Christine Borland to mark the end of the First World War was unveiled at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow today.
I Say Nothing is a response to the Great War but also to the First World War collection held by Glasgow Museums, which co-commissioned the piece with 14-18 NOW and supported by the Art Fund.
The piece focuses on the historical use of feeder cups, both for wounded soldiers and to force feed hunger-striking Suffragettes, and is the result of a year’s research residency at the museum. It confronts the contradictions of care and brutality, the Scottish artist said, and the final structure was helped by trips to the battlefields of Flanders and other collections.
“Feeder cups like this were widely used to nurse wounded soldiers during World War I, but also, perhaps surprisingly, to force-feed hunger-striking suffragettes in the period directly before 1914 –1918” Borland said. “This duality intrigued me, as did the very tactile form of the cup itself, which is at once so personal and domestic in scale, yet institutional in function.”
And thechair of Glasgow Life, David McDonald, added:“I Say Nothing is a bold, thought-provoking contemporary artwork for Glasgow. It is a striking, powerful addition to the city’s art collection. The contradiction presented by the sculpture is certain to re-ignite interest in our World War I collection and stimulate debate and reflection on the nature and history of conflicts old and new.”