Specially commissioned artwork comes to Selfridges Birmingham

Premium department store Selfridges is continuing its patronage of British artists with a new, specially commissioned sculpture that is now on display in the Birmingham store.

Matthew Darbyshire is the second resident artist to contribute to The Art Block, Selfridge’s permanent destination for sculpture.

His three figurative works reinterpret the familiar classical symbols of Nike, Hermes and Mars and after being on display in Selfridges London, the three-metre-tall pieces, which are made to resemble 3D printing but have been carefully hand-crafted in synthetic stone finish. The Nike installation has made its way to Birmingham and  is now on display on Level 4 of the Bullring store.

The London-based artist said he was struck by the similarity between shopping emporium and museum layouts.

“Then I thought back further and realised that Roman and Greek temples informed the cathedral which informed the museum and the museum informed the mall – so, if shopping is the new religion, the brands are the new icons that, regardless of faith, race or creed, unify us all,” he said.

“I then realised we’d come full circle and that the main brands today in fact derive from the classical deities first shown in ancient temples, then in cathedrals, museums, and now in the ultimate secular temple – the store!”

Sam Watts, general manager of Selfridges Birmingham, said: “We are constantly looking for new ways to surprise and engage our customers and Matthew’s stunning sculptures on level four  certainly provide food for thought. We are committed to promoting the arts and this is just one way of introducing pieces that people may not ordinarily have the opportunity to see.”

The Art Block is Selfridges’ permanent destination for contemporary sculpture, presenting a series of six-month long residencies, showing newly commissioned artworks in captivating and unexpected ways. The store is already a hub for the arts, hosting an annual Live + Loud festival in the summer, which celebrates the city’s diverse arts movement.

Earlier this year, Selfridges Birmingham joined forces with city-based Ikon Gallery to launch State of the Arts, bringing thought-provoking art to the premium department store that featured a specially commissioned piece by Belgian-based Perry Roberts, as well as an art trail of works by other critically acclaimed and award-winning artists.

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