A new exhibition by sculptor Kenny Hunter was unveiled at Aberdeen Art Gallery today (Thursday). Sculpture Court, which is displayed in the Art Gallery’s grand central gallery of the same name, reflects on the changing role of the monument as a public artform.
Kenny Hunter is one of Scotland’s leading contemporary artists. Born in Edinburgh in 1962, Hunter graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1987 and then studied classical sculpture at the British School in Athens. He is based in Edinburgh and is a lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art, part of the University of Edinburgh.
Hunter makes elegant sculptures in many materials including wood, plastic, iron and bronze. He exhibits work widely in the UK and internationally and has also created a number of high-profile commissioned works, including Citizen Firefighter (2001), outside Glasgow’s Central Station, Youth With Split Apple (2005) for King’s College, Aberdeen and iGoat (2010) in Spitalfields, London. Feedback Loop (2003) is in the collection of Aberdeen Archives, Gallery & Museums. In 2008 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Aberdeen University. Hunter is currently working on a new commission for the Thomas Blake Glover memorial garden in Fraserburgh. He has also been commissioned by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh to create a memorial to healthcare workers for their tireless efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hunter describes his practice as a sculptor as an ongoing effort to deconstruct the monument as a permanent symbol of political and historic progress and instead re-present it as a form in flux, open to varied interpretation. This has been expressed through inverting traditional monumental values and certainties with unexpected uses of scale, material and subject matter, opening up questions for the viewer rather than providing answers.
Kenny Hunter said: “For this new exhibition, Sculpture Court, I was drawn to the idea that today, the original power and purpose of the monument can seem incongruous. Recently we’ve all become much more aware of the failings, fragility, and fallibility of this public artform. I’m presenting this group of artworks here against the magnificent backdrop of Aberdeen Art Gallery’s classically-inspired Sculpture Court as ambiguous and open to varied interpretation. I hope that visitors to the exhibition will consider both the future role of the monument and its legacy, thinking about questions such as - what they are for, what do they represent and who do they serve?”
Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokesperson said: “Kenny Hunter has enjoyed a relationship with Aberdeen over many years, specifically with Aberdeen Art Gallery, Peacock Visual Arts and Aberdeen University. His sculpture Feedback Loop is already a firm favourite with visitors to the Art Gallery. For people who know Kenny’s work from other locations such as at Aberdeen University, elsewhere in Scotland and the UK, I hope that they will take the opportunity to visit Aberdeen Art Gallery over the coming months and discover this wonderful new exhibition by one of Scotland’s leading contemporary artists.”
Kenny Hunter – Sculpture Court
Aberdeen Art Gallery, Schoolhill, Aberdeen AB10 1FQ
Exhibition opens 11 December 2021 and continues until 30 October 2022. Supported by Creative Scotland and the University of Edinburgh
Open 7 days, admission free, www.aagm.co.uk
Meet the Artist
Saturday 11 December, 11am and 12noon (40mins), free
On the opening day of his new exhibition, come along and meet artist Kenny Hunter for an informal talk and tour of Sculpture Court.