‘Make a Paper Boat…’ New Greenock Exhibition Space to Celebrate George Wyllie’s Legacy

George Wyllie, Paper Boat on Crane
George Wyllie, 'Paper Boat' on crane, Glasgow

George Wyllie: Spires

From: 26 Apr 2024

To: 11 Aug 2024

The Wyllieum
Greenock Ocean Terminal
Custom House Way
Glasgow & the Clyde Valley
PA15 1EG

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A new building dedicated to the legacy of Scottish artist George Wyllie (1921 – 2012) is set to open in Greenock. Launching with exhibition George Wyllie: Spires, the Wyllieum is a new major exhibition space, home to the largest collection of his works, and represents the first time that this truly unique artist’s extensive oeuvre has gone on display in his home/work area of Greenock.

Showcasing Wyllie’s work and legacy, and hosting a rolling display of exhibitions and displays of art either by Wyllie or connected to him, the display includes items from his Estate, long-term loans from private collections, and a range of ephemera and archival material, building a fuller picture of how Wyllie worked. The Wyllieum is part of Greenock’s Ocean Terminal building (below), designed by Edinburgh architect Richard Murphy, and will stage a year-round programme, including two temporary exhibitions showcasing the artist’s practice, placing it in a dialogue with his collaborators, and creating a platform for contemporary artistic responses to his work.

George Wyllie
George Wyllie

A former Royal Navy engineer, Wyllie’s works had a naval and mechanical focus, with Clydeside’s shipbuilding a particular influence. The Socialist principles of shipbuilders were an important influence, and the devastation felt by communities whose industry had been ripped from them in the 1980s. His circle included Ricky Demarco – a leading light in Scottish art – filmmaker Murray Grigor, George Rickey and German artist Joseph Beuys. He was a highly-individual artist, categorising himself a Scul?tor, and responsible for many memorable large-scale works such as Straw Locomotive and Paper Boat (pictured).

The launch exhibition, co-curated by the Wyllieum’s Director Will Cooper and Sarah Barker, looks at Wyllie’s Spires series of outdoor sculptures – a three-legged base with a vertical pole, held in balance by a rock or stone.

George Wyllie, ’32 Spires for Hibernia’
George Wyllie, 'Burning Locomotive'
George Wyllie, ‘Straw Locomotive’
George Wyllie, 'Paper Boat'
George Wyllie, ‘Paper Boat’
Wyllieum has been designed by Edinburgh architect Richard Murphy
The Wyllieum forms part of Greenock’s Ocean Terminal building, designed by Edinburgh architect Richard Murphy

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