THE IRN CURTAIN
Designs have been developed and planning permission granted for one of the biggest artworks ever to be realised in the UK. In collaboration with artist David Mach RA and AVR London, construction has begun on the ‘Irn Curtain’, a 100 mile artwork made of 400,000 shipping containers, forming a border between Scotland and England.
Described as “beautiful, fascinating and disturbing in equal measure,” the Irn Curtain is zigzagging its way across the border from the Solway Firth on the West coast of Scotland to Berwick, to Marshall Meadows Bay on its East coast. Forming clusters as it goes that will house shops, galleries, hotels, restaurants and offices, the ‘wonder of the world’ is rising up out of our West coast like the basalt rock formations at the Giant’s Causeway.
Whilst many believe Hadrian’s Wall to be the border between Scotland and England, the ‘Curtain’ will sit slightly further north, where the true border is. Yet rather than a border splitting them apart, David Mach RA and the Curtain’s investors see it as a line ‘stitching‘ the two countries together, with that stitch offering up 100 miles of opportunity.
“I’ve worked with David several times during the last two decades, and we’re currently collaborating on a ‘Titanic’ project in Belfast. The idea of redefining a boundary between Scotland and England with shipping containers is timely, as the combination of the SNP and Alba will now push hard for a Scot-exit. What better iconographic image than building a 100-mile long wall of iron* to define that nostalgic moment when England was merely an outpost of the Roman Empire?
*or irn wall (steel is carbon rich iron – to allude to the iron age / Thatcher tax extortion of Scotland’s oil / and carbon as the defining element of our age – may be too subtle!)”
Prof Ian Ritchie CBE RA RIBA
“Working with David has been a very stimulating experience. Rather than our usual approach to commissioning buildings, David asks what happens when the architecture begins as an exploration of an idea. David’s Irn Curtain response is typical of his approach – take a proposition, step sideways then push, prod and provoke.
Combining seemingly unrelated news stories, Irn Curtain condenses the global and the local, the political and the social, the historic and the here and now; it proposes a vision of what could be. It is beautiful, fascinating and disturbing in equal measure.”
Chris Milan – Parabola
Known for his dynamic and imaginative large scale collages, sculptures and installations, it has been an honour and privilege to work alongside David Mach in bringing this immense project to life.
As the largest scale project ever undertaken by the gallery, and within the UK, we can’t wait to explore the Irn Curtain which is due for completion December 2021.
Follow #IrnCurtain to keep up to date on progress.