Artwork created from Glasgow School of Art ‘ashes’

The library in the Mackintosh building was gutted in the blaze on 23 May 2014Image copyright
Getty Images

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The library in the Mackintosh building was gutted in the blaze on 23 May 2014

Leading artists including Sir Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor and Simon Starling have used material from the fire-damaged Glasgow School of Art to create new work and raise funds.

Twenty-five international artists were sent debris from the Mackintosh library, which was gutted by fire in May 2014.

The work they created will be sold at auction to raise money for the Mackintosh Campus Appeal.

It is hoped £32m can be raised.

Other artists taking part include Grayson Perry, Cornelia Parker, Jenny Saville, David Shrigley and Douglas Gordon as well as The Chapman Brothers and Sir Peter Blake, with seven Turner prize winners among them.

Each artist was sent a piece of material specifically chosen for them with a note telling them what it was, where it was from and explaining the concept of the auction.

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Glasgow School of Art

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The Mackintosh Library was celebrated for its design

Perry, who has made an urn featuring the words “Art is dead. Long live Art”, said: “It’s a tragedy. It’s the most famous art school building in Britain.

“It’s also the masterpiece of Mackintosh. It’s a double tragedy.

“I was very excited when I received the box of charcoal. I had an idea almost immediately and the idea of making an urn was an obvious thing to do.

“The idea of memorialising or celebrating the difficulty – honouring the wound. It’s something I’m trying to do. Move on and make the most of it.

“I really like the idea of using the charcoal from the fire. I thought it was very clever. It’s also fresh – it’s not something that has come up before.

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John Stoddart

“We’ve all been asked to do T-shirts, knickers and mugs – endless charity rounds. I get about two a week.”

The project, titled Ash To Art, was created by communications agency J. Walter Thompson London in collaboration with The Glasgow School of Art Development Trust.

The work will be on display at Christie’s in London’s King Street from 3-7 March and will be auctioned during the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale on 8 March.

Each of the pieces, covering a range of practices including sculpture, photography, drawing and painting, has been created using remains from the fire, from charred timbers and debris to books and furniture.

They include Kapoor’s wood fragments in a red perspex box and Gordon’s burnt wood cast in bronze.

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Glasgow School of Art

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The appeal is aiming to raise £32m to restore the Grade-A listed building

Students had been preparing for their degree shows when flames engulfed the Grade A-listed Charles Rennie Mackintosh building.

The blaze caused significant damage to the west wing, including the loss of the celebrated library.

An investigation by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service concluded it was caused by flammable gases from a canister of expanding foam.

The report said the gases ignited as they came into contact with the hot surface of a projector.

So far, the Mackintosh Campus Appeal has raised £18.5m.

Prof Tom Inns, director of the Glasgow School of Art, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the creative team at J. Walter Thompson London over the last two years on this imaginative initiative that will help in our efforts to raise the £32m required to make our vision a reality.”

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