Reach for the Stars, the final and most monumental work by British sculptor Kenneth Armitage, has been craned into its new home at Edinburgh Park. It is the first of a collection of notable artworks that will turn the area into a new cultural destination for Scotland’s capital. Several more sculptures will be delivered in the coming months as part of developer Parabola’s arts strategy for the area. Edinburgh Park will also host one of the outdoor arenas for major performances at this year’s Edinburgh Festival.
Yorkshire-born Kenneth Armitage (1916 – 2002) is recognised as a pioneer of modern sculpture and is known for his large semi-abstract works characterised by movement. He was awarded with a CBE in 1969 and elected Senior RA in 1994. In 1952 he followed fellow Yorkshire artist Henry Moore by earning an international reputation at the Venice Biennale, exhibiting in 1952 alongside other young sculptors representing Britain. In 1958 he won the Biennale prize for a sculptor under 45. Reach for the Stars (2001) portrays a hand shaped like a star supported on an arm that is both human and architectural.
Parabola’s innovative new Edinburgh Park Southern Phase masterplan is one of the UK’s biggest zero carbon mixed-use property developments. The sculpture by Armitage is one of a series of cultural initiatives intended to create a new arts quarter out of the £500 million development which includes Mach1, a new arts and exhibition centre designed by Scottish sculptor and installation artist David Mach RA, as well as offices for 10,000 workers in addition to the some 12,000 already on the park. As well as commercial buildings, there will be 1,800 private residential, Build-to-Rent and affordable homes.
Commenting on the installation of the Armitage sculpture, Parabola chairman Peter Millican said: “We are very excited to see ‘Reach for the Stars’ installed in its new home at Edinburgh Park where it can be seen by visitors arriving by tram, road and rail. It’s a truly magnificent piece, and I hope others find it as inspirational as I do.”
Parabola’s arts strategy for Edinburgh Park includes major sculptural works by Eduardo Paolozzi, Brian Kneale, Geoffrey Clarke, William Tucker and Bruce Beasley. David Mach RA has been commissioned to develop his first sculptural building - Mach 1, and Dovecot Studios is on schedule to complete a major tapestry based on Leon Kossoff’s painting Study from 'Minerva Protects Pax from Mars' by Rubens (1981) which will hang in 1 New Park Square that will complete later this year.