Artists do­nate works for Gren­fell sur­vivors

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - ARTS & CULTURE - By Estelle Shir­bon

A group of Bri­tain’s most suc­cess­ful con­tem­po­rary artists has do­nated valu­able works to sell at a char­ity auc­tion for the sur­vivors of the Gren­fell Tower fire, which killed about 80 peo­ple at a Lon­don so­cial hous­ing block in June.

Home to a close-knit, mul­ti­eth­nic com­mu­nity, the 24-story tower in a de­prived hous­ing es­tate was re­duced to a charred ruin by the inferno. Many sur­vivors have yet to be re­housed and are still liv­ing in ho­tels.

The char­ity auc­tion, to be held at Sotheby’s Mon­day, in­cludes works by artists in­clud­ing Wolf­gang Till­mans, Antony Gorm­ley, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lu­cas, Mark Wallinger and Rachel Whiteread.

The pro­ceeds from the auc­tion, which Sotheby’s es­ti­mates will range be­tween 700,000 and 1 mil­lion pounds ($926,000-$1.3 mil­lion), will be di­vided equally among 158 sur­viv­ing fam­i­lies.

Film pro­ducer Hamish McAlpine, an art col­lec­tor who was one of the driv­ing forces be­hind the auc­tion, said the Gren­fell tragedy had had a huge emo­tional im­pact on Lon­don­ers, in­clud­ing the city’s vi­brant artis­tic com­mu­nity. “Gren­fell touched their souls,” he said in an in­ter­view at a Sotheby’s gallery. “It’s a very emo­tive sub­ject for peo­ple in Lon­don.”

McAlpine said fa­mous artists were con­stantly bom­barded with re­quests to do­nate works for char­ity and could not al­ways give, but in this case al­most ev­ery­one had agreed im­me­di­ately.

“There has been an ex­tra­or­di­nary gen­eros­ity within the artists’ com­mu­nity,” he said. “To give a work that’s worth hun­dreds of thou­sands of pounds, for free, it re­ally is a mag­i­cal thing.”

One of the works, “Lay the Dust with Tears” by Tacita Dean, was cre­ated es­pe­cially for the auc­tion. A gray and black im­age made with char­coal on pa­per, it is evoca­tive of bil­low­ing smoke.

Other works that al­ready ex­isted have been re­named by the artists to honor the vic­tims of the fire.

“Red Lens for Gren­fell” by Anish Kapoor is a thick acrylic disc, rem­i­nis­cent of lenses used in light­houses, while a black-and-white pho­to­graph by Sarah Lu­cas has been re­named “Eat­ing a Ba­nana (for Gren­fell).”

The most valu­able art­work for sale is “Freis­chwim­mer 193” by Wolf­gang Till­mans, a very large green print. The es­ti­mated price range is 120,000-180,000 pounds.

Tacita Dean’s ‘Lay the Dust with Tears’ was cre­ated for the auc­tion

Wolf­gang Till­mans’ “Freis­chwim­mer 193” is the most ex­pen­sive work on of­fer.

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