Assignment one: Working to commission research

David Mach makes sculpture out of 100s or 1000s of mass produced objects and does most of his work by commission. ‘Train, 1997’ is a good example of how well his work scales up to produce public sculture (the largest in Britain at the time). I find his work interesting, but not hugely inspiring. I think this is because of his use of many of the same type of object, there is no variation in texture on his pieces.

It is interesting to read about the productions of Auguste Rodin’s ‘The Burghers of Calais, 1884-9’, a commissioned work, but one in which Rodin had very strong ideas that he would not compromise on, even when the committee commissioning him did not like the direction he was taking. I imagine many sculptors would have changed their designs, but then lost the integrity of their work. The resulting sculpture is very powerful, full of movement and emotion and much more heroic for the vulnerability of the portrayal.

Rachael Whitehead’s ‘Untitled (House), 1993’ is a public commissioned sculpture which was a continuation of her current practice. Again for me this is interesting work, but doesn’t inspire me much. I prefer work such as the Rodin example above where the evidence of hand on sculpting is there to see.

Creative Commons Licence. RayMorris1. "Angel". 28 May 2013. Online image. Flickr. 13 February 2016.

Creative Commons Licence. RayMorris1

Anthony Gormley’s ‘Angel of the North, 1998‘ is probably one of the most famous commissioned works in the UK. To be selected to build such a monumental sculpture would be amazing. Like most of the commissioned work I have read about, this also caused controversy at the time, perhaps a given for producing large-scale works. I love the rusty metal texture of this sculpture and you can’t fail to be awed by it’s size and dominance of the landscape.

All the artists looked at here seem to be producing commissioned work which is in harmony to their current practice and not compromised by the commissioning process. They also research the location where they are to be sited, it’s history and significance, and produce work which is relevant to that history and makes reference to it.


Benedek, N. (2000). Auguste Rodin: The Burghers of Calais, A Resource for Educators. 1st ed. [ebook] The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Available at: [Accessed 13 Feb. 2016]., (2016). Background. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Feb. 2016].

RayMorris1. “Angel”. 28 May 2013. Online image. Flickr. 13 February 2016. [Accessed 13 Feb. 2016]., (2016). David Mach | Artist | Royal Academy of Arts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Feb. 2016]., (2016). Rachel Whiteread: Biography. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Feb. 2016].

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