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“A symbolic work that celebrates the spirit of a land a n d i t s p e o p l e . �

The Drummer A Symbolic Work that Celebrates the Spirit of a Land and its People.

The be a t h a s b e e n i n e x i s t e n c e f r o m t h e b e g i n n i ng of time.

mile s from the country ’s administrative centre, poised on the

It is life i t s e l f, p r e s e n t w i t h i n u s a l l . Pe r h a p s t h e U niverse has

edge, jutting out into the great Atlantic Ocean; Cornwall is

its ow n e t e r n a l p u l se . T h a t m o s t p r i m i t i v e o f i nstruments,

geographically and to some extent, economically remote. The

the dru m , i s u s e d t o s u m m o n a n d c o m m u n i c a t e , i t entertains

shared sense of magic and timelessness that one feels not

and ev o k e s f e e l i n g . M y o w n r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h t h e drum began

only comes from the barren landscape and rugged coastline

during m y e a r l y c h i l d h o o d i n B e l f a s t . O n e v e r y twelfth of

and from the quality of light the peninsula possesses, but also

July, an d t h r o u g h o u t t h e m a r c h i n g s e a s o n o f t h e preceding

from the dereliction and desolation left over from a by-gone

months , t h e g r o u n d a n d a i r w o u l d t h u n d e r a n d p o u nd with the

industrial age. Living in a remote place often brings some

collecti v e b e a t o f d r u m s a s O r a n g e m e n p a r a d ed in mass

kind of hardship. Perhaps it is this that has instilled within the

through s t r e e t s a c r o s s t h e p r o v i n c e .

nature of its people, a quiet and proud sense of independence paralleled with an instinct to survive whatever the prevailing

It was n o s u r p r i s e t h a t w h e n I f i r s t s e t f o o t i n Cornwall,

circumstances may be.

twenty f i v e y e a r s a g o , I d e s c r i b e d i t a s a p l a c e whose drum beats d i f f e r e n t l y t o a n y w h e r e e l s e , r e f e r r i n g t o t h e primordial,

I n t h e a r c h i v e s o f Tr u r o M u s e u m t h e r e i s a n e x t e n s i v e

magica l a n d t i m e l e s s a s p e c t t h a t t h e l a n d p o s s e s s e s . This came

collection of photographs of tin miners working underground

to min d , w h e n i n 2 0 0 7 , I w a s i n v i t e d f o r t h e s e c ond time to

around the turn of the 1900s, taken by the photographer

submit a p r o p o s a l f o r a s c u l p t u r e f o r Tr u r o ’ s Le m on Quay. I

J.C.Burrows. One photograph in particular, portrays seven

viewed t h e o p p o r t u n i t y a s a c h a n c e t o c e l e b r a t e something

men standing in front of a mineshaft.

that wo u l d r e f l e c t a n a s p e c t o f C o r n w a l l a n d i t s people, and

haunting and austere; the subjects look ster nly into the camera

not jus t t h e c i t y.

lens, they are united by life’s hardships, which are etched into

The image is both

the faces of each and every man, a look that is more difficult What d o e s i t m e a n w h e n w e r e f e r t o C o r n w a l l a s timeless or

to find in Cornwall today.

magica l a n d w h a t m a k e s t h i s C o u n t y d i f f e r e n t f r o m any other? The se a r c h f o r a n s w e r s l e d t o w a l k s a c r o s s m oor, coast,

It is perhaps then, the men and boys that mined tin for

and un d e r g r o u n d i n t o t h e t i n m i n e s , t o c o n v e r s ations with

generations in the heat and darkness below ground level, and

differen t p e o p l e , f r o m a l l w a l k s o f l i f e . “ Yo u c o uld feel the

the fishermen that battle against the sea that best describe the

black,” a n e x - m i n e r d e s c r i b e d t h e t h i c k , s t i f l i n g, dimly lit

spirit of ‘steely resilience.’ It is exactly this that The Drummer

atmosp h e r e o f h i s s u b t e r r a n e a n w o r k i n g e n v i r o n ment. It’s a

celebrates as it forces a mighty blow upon the drum.

descrip t i o n t h a t h a d p r o f o u n d r e s o n a n c e . The ball on which the figure balances relates to the sea, earth After s o m e t h o u g h t , I c o n c l u d e d t h a t C o r n w a l l in modern

and the bright moon that shines across expansive night skies.

times i s b e t t e r k n o w n a s a t o u r i s t d e s t i n a t i o n a nd a place

The composition originates from an installation entitled La

where m a n y p e o p l e h a v e c h o s e n t o s e t t l e . T h e r e i s, however,

Corrida ~ Dreams in Red. The decision t o use the ball was

someth i n g m o r e f u n d a m e n t a l t h a t d e f i n e s t h e p e n i ns ula. Many

inspired by the quay ’s circular paving design, which refers to

the t i d a l w a t e r b e n e a t h i t . T h e b a l l s u g g e s t s b o t h a sea buoy and t h e g l o b e a c r o s s w h i c h a g r e a t m a n y C o rnish people migra t e d t o f i n d w o r k . The D r u m m e r s c u l p t u r e i s c a s t i n b r o n z e , a n a l l oy composed of co p p e r a n d t i n . T h e c a s t c o n t a i n s b o t h a n i n g ot of Cornish tin an d C o r n i s h c o p p e r w h i c h h a s b e e n s y m b o l ically thrown into t h e c r u c i b l e d u r i n g t h e s m e l t i n g p r o c e s s . The emblem of th e l a m b a n d f l a g e m b o s s e d u p o n t h e d r u m represents purit y a n d r e f e r s t o Tr u r o ’ s p a s t a s a s t a n n a r y t o wn where tin was w e i g h e d , s t a m p e d a n d s o l d . S i t u a t e d m i d way between Land’ s E n d a n d S a l ta s h , Tr u r o h a s t r a d i t i o n a l l y s e rved its rural comm u n i t y a s a c o m m e r c i a l c e n t r e . I n t u r n , t he Drummer bring s t o t h e h e a r t o f i t a s e n s e o f t h e r u r a l c o m m unity through which i t c e l e b r a t e s t h e r h y t h m a n d b e a t t h a t drives many festiv i t i e s t h r o u g h o u t t h e c o u n t y : t h e H e l s t o n F l o r al, Penzance’s Maze y d a y, S t J u s t ’ s La f r o w d a a n d t h a t m o s t p r i m al and magical of rit e s , T h e Pa d s t o w O b b y O s s a n d m o r e r e c ently, Truro’s winte r c i t y l i g h t s . Twen t y- f i v e y e a r s o n f r o m m y f i r s t a r r i v a l i n C ornwall, it is an ho n o u r t o h a v e b e e n c o m m i s s i o n e d t o c r e a t e this work. It is un c a n n y, y e t f i t t i n g , t h a t t h e s c u l p t u r e , w h i c h endeavours to de f i n e s o m e t h i n g a b o u t C o r n w a l l a n d i t s p e ople, should have b e e n c r e a t e d i n a d i s u s e d q u a r r y b u i l d i n g in a remote locat i o n t h a t w a s o n c e t h e c e n t r e o f t h e g r a nite industry wher e r o c k w a s b l a s t e d a n d s h a p e d b y m a s o ns. It is that same r o c k w h i c h p a v e s t h e m a n y s t r e e t s o f o u r capital, three hund r e d m i l e s a w a y.

Ti m Shaw. 2011

It is a great accolade to be housing this momentous exhibition by Tim Shaw at Millennium. This exhibition and the significant public unveiling which follows make it, arguably, his largest and most enduring project to date. Shaw is a sculptor with extraordinary diligence and dedication, which in turn leads to an often-missing prerequisite – monumentality. With Tim Shaw, that elusive element is always present, in small maquette or larger form. The work is iconic. It is therefore appropriate that Shaw was commissioned to make The Drummer. The result fully represents the determination of people and place - balanced defiantly on the edge. In his Artist statement he has spoken at length and in detail about the specifics of the project and its relationship to its site. However, it seems important for me to introduce by focussing on the permeating subjects within Shaw ’s work as a whole, and how these themes have culminated in ‘ The Drummer ’s’ pervasive importance - not just to the centre of Cornwall, but to Tim Shaw ’s oeuvre and to the wider context of artistic history. Shaw ’s work deals with primordial human instinct, laying it bare, never flinching from confronting us – with darkness and light. The need to recollect such truths is vital the more progression shields us from some of our fundamental characteristics. The yearning for such works of art becomes more and more important by way of resistance – to remind us who we really are. Shaw earlier stated, “ There is a need for me to give shape and form to the emotive forces that lie beneath the appearance of everyday reality.” Reaction to the work in the past has been extreme – ‘Silenus’, a larger than life figure, with antlers, holding his erect penis and staring unnervingly into the eyes of the viewer made National news when it was attacked by a masked man with an iron bar whilst on exhibition in the East End of London in 2007. In mythology, the wise old fool was tutor to Dionysus. As with much of Shaw ’s work the mythological or historic thematic structure merely underpins a contemporary concern. A subtext for this defiant, conceited figure was the sneering frivolous nature of power, a warning of an inherent corruptive human element. This piece was originally envisaged as part of the installation ‘ The Rites of Dionysus’ on permanent display at The Eden Project linking closely to the mythology of the bacchanal, but giving shape to perennial extreme facets of human nature acted out in full on life’s stage. From mid 2007 to late 2009, a substantial body of work was realised during Shaw ’s residency in London, where he lived and worked in Kenneth Armitage’s former studios as recipient of the Kenneth Armitage Fellowship. Drawing from personal experience of his formative years growing up in troubled Belfast, Shaw made a series of works focussed on world conflict, and the emotive forces that propel and perpetuate acts of extremism. ‘ Tank on Fire’ was made; taking inspiration from images of events in Basra where an ignited soldier flees a burning tank. The piece was announced winner of the

inaugural Threadneedle Judges Prize. Shaw also made ‘Man on Fire’ a double life-sized figure propelled uncontrollably forward whilst engulfed by flames. Shaw stated of these works, “I tried to imagine the thoughts and feelings of someone consumed by fire, of someone who is caught between two worlds, that of life and death”. The culmination of the residency was ‘Casting a Dark Democracy ’ a 17 foot sculpture of the Abu Ghraib prisoner stood in front of a mirroring pool of oil on a sand covered floor. A smoke filled low -lit room, and drumming heartbeat pulse completed the installation. The true cost of conflict, fear and greed made palpable. Jackie Wullshlager, critic for the Financial Times heralded the piece ‘ The most politically charged yet poetically resonant new work on show in London’ whilst Gilda Williams of Artforum stated ‘Shockingly powerful… I’d assumed that no work could ever match the impact of the actual newspaper photos, but Casting succeeds”. My last experience of working with Shaw was on the 2008 exhibition ‘Future History ’, which took place mid-way through the residency. The exhibition was a mixture of maquettes of images of conflict alongside a series of ‘Fertility Figures’ and ‘Funerary Figures’. In his catalogue introduction Shaw confronted an initial concern over, what could be termed, disparate subject matter, stating, “At first glance the work pursues two distinctly different paths, one deals with current affairs the other has its roots in something much older... Perhaps one thing that binds it together is to do with the most primal of all concerns which is the will to exist.” After the productive residency in London, Tim returned to Cornwall to begin this intensive period of work on The Drummer. Featured as part of this exhibition is the early installation; La Corrida - Dreams in Red, made from 1996 to 1999 after a three month residency in Andalucía. It is a depiction of a stage that rages with energy, passion and grace. Elements of beauty, sensuality and brutality merge. All participants vigorously alive, yet at all times intensely aware of their mortality. Amongst the ensemble sits a flamenco dancer elegantly balanced on large spheres. It was the first use of this universal symbol within Shaw ’s work. Shaw once told me of a profound moment which occurred after the death of his Father - when he asked his Mother if his Father had passed peacefully she said ‘he slowly drew back less and less breath until finally if was as if a great ball of silence had filled the room’. This powerful, poetic notion becomes difficult to elude and adds another layer to the significance of the ‘orb’ symbol. The origins of The Drummer could be seen as the seeds that drive all of Tim Shaw ’s work, the pounding pulse of existence, the defiant yet graceful balance on a precarious ball of uncertainty representing forces greater than ourselves. The Drummer will stand as a centre piece to Cornwall but will also stand as a permanent monument to the ephemeral state of balance between life’s resolute, magnificent endeavour and the unknown which awaits us all. Joseph Clarke. 2011

Figure on Ball I bronze edition 16 height 19 cm




Figure on Ball II bronze edition 16 height 18 cm


Figure on Ball III bronze edition 16 height 15 cm




Figure on Ball IV bronze edition 16 height 19 cm


Figure Study I ink on paper 42 x 59 cm 14

FIgure Study II ink on paper 42 x 59 cm 15

Dancer on Ball I bronze edition 16 height 24 cm




Dancer on Ball II bronze edition 16 height 24 cm


Dancer on Ball III bronze edition 16 height 24 cm



The Dance Between Two Forms

The first proposal for Lemon Quay consists of a composite of two monumental sculptures to be placed at each end of the quay. At the wider end, a swan with a wingspan of twelve metres stands upon a sphere that appears to float upon a shallow pool with water cascading down from its wings. Facing this, on the opposite end, a female figure stands upon a ball, with arms out-stretched, she appears to conjure up the vision of the giant bird 80m away. Originally entitled: ‘In Remembrance of Tidal Waters that Lies Beneath’ the idea responds to a sentiment shared by some of the local community that the quay should be restored to its original condition.

Rising Swan bronze edition 8 height 11 cm 22



Swan Study I ink on paper 42 x 30 cm

Swan Study II ink on paper 42 x 30 cm

Swan Study III ink on paper 42 x 30 cm



In Remembrance of Tidal Water I bronze edition 8 height 19 cm 27

In Remembrance of Tidal Water II bronze edition 8 height 23 cm 28


Study for The Drummer I ink on paper 59 x 42 cm 30

Study for The Drummer II ink on paper 30 x 21 cm 31


The Drummer: Small Maquette bronze edition 16 height 26 cm


The Drummer: Large Maquette bronze edition 5 height 65 cm




Head of The Drummer bronze . edition 5 plaster / resin . edition 8 height 56 cm



The Drummer, Cornwall, 20/10/10

Tim Shaw and The Drummer I, Cornwall, 20/10/10

official archive studio silver gelatin photograph

official archive studio silver gelatin photograph

signed by Nik Strangelove and Tim Shaw

signed by Nik Strangelove and Tim Shaw

25.5 x 20.5 cm . edition of 8

25.5 x 20.5 cm . edition of 8

61 x 51 cm . edition of 8

61 x 51 cm . edition of 8



Born Belfast


1985 – 89 Falmouth College of Art – BA Hons Fine Art, First Class 1984 – 85 Manchester Polytechnic – Art Foundation


2011 2009 2008 2006 2005 1999 1997 1992

The Origins of The Drummer, Millennium, St.Ives Riflemaker presents at The Kenneth Armitage Foundation, London Casting A Dark Democracy, Kenneth Armitage Foundation, London Future History, Goldfish Fine Art, Cornwall No Title, Goldfish, Cornwall Truro Cathedral, Cornwall La Corrida: Dreams In Red, Falmouth Public Art Gallery, Cornwall La Corrida: Dreams In Red, Duncan Campbell Gallery, London Fragments from the Middle World, Albemarle Gallery, London

2006 2005 2004

Visiting Picasso, Falmouth Art Gallery, Cornwall Royal Ulster Academy, Ulster Museum Critic’s Choice, NSA, Lemon Street Gallery, Truro The Sculpture Show, Mullan Gallery, Belfast Drawing the Line, Newlyn Art Gallery Bath Fringe Festival Millfield Open Exhibition (first Prize) 2003 Truro Museum, Cornwall Identity, Newlyn Art Gallery, Cornwall Millfield Open Exhibition 2001 Obsession, Newlyn Gallery, Cornwall 2000 Art 2000, Gordon Hepworth Gallery, London Lemon Street Gallery, Truro, Cornwall 1997 Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London (prize Winner) 1996 Casa Manilva, Spain 1993 Northampton Museum and Gallery Images of Christ, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Artists of Promise, Bonhams Gallery, London1992 The Working Process, Newlyn Gallery, Cornwall 1990 Summer Show, Albemarle Gallery, London 1985 The Otter Gallery, Belfast



2011 2010

2009-11 The Drummer , Lemon Quay, Truro, Cornwall 2008 The Minotaur, The Royal Opera House, London 2000-4 Rites of Dionysus, The Eden Project, Cornwall

2009 2008 2007 2006

The Exquisite Trove , Newlyn Art Gallery Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London F. E McWilliam Gallery, Banbridge, Northern Ireland The House of Fairy Tales, Millennium, St. Ives The Uniques Store, Riflemaker, London Volta, Art Basel, Riflemaker In The Mix, Pangolin, London Threadneedle Prize, shortlisted (Selectors Prize), London Mixed / No Theme, Goldfish, Cornwall Icons, 108 Fine Art, Harrogate Move, Goldfish at Vyner Street, London Politics Pays Back, Kowalsky Gallery @ DACS, London Margins, Sherborne House Open 07, Sherborne, Dorset Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London Art Now Cornwall, Goldfish, Cornwall Spontaneous Combustion, Newlyn Gallery, Cornwall


2008 2006 2005 2003 1997 1996

Selectors’ Award: Threadneedle Prize, Mall Galleries Kenneth Armitage Sculpture Fellowship Award The Mullan Prize, Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition Prince of Wales Bursary Award, The British School at Athens First Prize, Millfield Open Prize Winner, Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London Delfina Studio Trust Award, Residency at Casa Manilva, Spain


2001 Ceramica Workshop, St Ives International, Cornwall 1994-09 Visiting Tutor, Falmouth College of Art


2011 2009 2008 2007 2007 2006 2004 2003

The Origins of The Drummer, Millennium, Catalogue The Threadneedle Prize at the Mall Galleries, Financial Times The New Curiosity Shop, GQ , Sophie Lewis Casting A Dark Democracy review, Dazed magazine online Casting A Dark Democracy review, Art Forum, Gilda Williams Casting A Dark Democracy review, Financial Times, Jackie Wullschlager Casting A Dark Democracy, Critic’s Choice, FT Casting A Dark Democracy review, Time Out, Francis Gooding Casting A Dark Democracy, Critic’s Choice, Time Out Future History, Goldfish, Catalogue The Genuine Article, Cornwall Today, Alex Wade Penzance Turns Regeneration into a Fine Art, The Observer, Alex Wade No Bull – the Covent Garden Monster, The Evening Standard, Georgina Littejohn Politics Pays Back review, The Spectator, Mark Glazebrook Is this the New Brutalism?, The Times, Hester Westley New Face of Cornish Art, The Times, Laura Gascoigne Sherborne House OPEN 07, Big Issue August Brian Sewell & the Art of Insulting your Hosts, The Independent, Ian Herbert Sunday Times Culture Magazine, Richard Brooks Move, Goldfish at Vyner Street, Catalogue No Title, Goldfish, Catalogue NSA Summer Show, Goldfish Fine Art, Catalogue Summer Exhibition, South West Academy, Catalogue Landscapes & Desire, Catherine Tuck, Sutton Publishing Catching the Wave: Art and Artists in Cornwall, Tom Cross, Halsgrove 2002 Art: N.S.A., Newlyn Society of Artists, Catalogue Eden: Tim Smit, Bantam Press Broomhill Sculpture Gardens 2000 20 Years of Contemporary Art, Falmouth Art Gallery, Catalogue 1993 Images of Christ, Religious Iconography in 20th Century British Art, Catalogue 1992 Exhibition review, Spectator, Giles Auty

Tim Shaw would like to thank:

Joe and Hollie Clarke and Sarah Goldbart at Millennium for their continued support Nik Strangelove for his official archive photography of The Drummer Alban Renoird for the interview film All at Bronze Age Foundry, London and Sculpture Studio, Devon Neil Scott at Totally Truro Big Ears Audio The team at Cornwall Council : Andy Cook , John James and Donald Martin. Truro town clerks past and present: Russell Holden and Roger Gazzard David Buurma of Mor Design and Mark O’Brien, for making it happen !

Published by Millennium to coincide with the exhibition ‘The Origins of The Drummer’ by Tim Shaw All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publishers

Archive images of The Drummer and Tim Shaw © Nik Strangelove ( Film stills - Alban Renoird (

Printed by Active Colour ( ISBN 978-1-905772-43-8

MILLENNIUM Str eet-an-Pol St. Ives Cornwall 01736 793121 m a i l @ m i l l e n n i u m g a l l e r y. c o . u k w w w . m i l l e n n i u m g a l l e r y. c o . u k

Tim Shaw 'The Origins of The Drummer'  
Tim Shaw 'The Origins of The Drummer'  

40 page catalogue of the forthcoming exhibition 'The Origins of The Drummer' by Tim Shaw held at Millennium, St Ives