Winner of the Birmingham Hippodrome 120 Sculpture Commission, Rachael Champion’s new site specific sculpture Tower of Varieties is now open. Reminiscent of layered geological stratigraphy, and featuring images of Birmingham’s built environment from the last 120 years, the plywood sculpture climbs the staircase void in the Hippodrome’s foyer, suspended by visible technical apparatus commonly found in the theatre industry. The artwork is on public view in the Hippodrome foyer for the next three to five years.
Rachel Champion’s work primarily manifests as site-specific installations and architectural sculptures that respond to places and their histories through contextually relevant forms and materials. Her practice focuses on highlighting the often unseen, overlooked systems and infrastructure of the built environment and the natural world. For the commission, Champion will suspended organic forms adorned with architectural imagery to highlight the fascinating textures of the city of Birmingham and to reference this acclaimed theatre’s many architectural transformations over its lifetime.
The artists shortlisted for this commission were Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Matt Gale, Richard Hughes, Joanne Masding and Frances Richardson.
The selection panel consisted of Emalee Beddoes-Davis, Modern and Contemporary Curator, Birmingham Museums Trust; Jo Capper, Public and Off-Site Curator, Grand Union; Jonathon Harris, Visual Art Producer, Birmingham Hippodrome; and Lucy Tomlins, Director, Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre.
PSC partnered with the Hippodrome to deliver this project and supported the artist in the project’s management, production and installation. More information about PSC’s consultancy service.
About Birmingham Hippodrome
One hundred and twenty years in the making, Birmingham Hippodrome’s theatrical programming generates over half a million moments of cultural engagement each year. The Hippodrome’s rich history and archive encompass its beginnings as a circus and home of variety performance through to its contemporary identity as one of the country’s largest independent theatres and the Birmingham home of ballet, dance and opera.