A rehang of works from the UBS Art Collection has been unveiled at the UK Headquarters at 5 Broadgate in London, featuring key names in British art and two new commissions that continue a long legacy of collaborating with living artists.
“Given its location, it was important the display placed a significant focus on British art,” explains Louise Evans, Regional Manager NE Europe, Middle East & Africa of the UBS Art Collection. A focus is placed on the Young British Artists (YBAs) movement, with significant works by key members including Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Angus Fairhurst and Sam Taylor-Johnson. Renowned for their ‘shock tactics’, the group began in the late 1980s, gaining international recognition in the 1990s.
Alongside works by the YBAs are significant pieces by artists who impacted the movement’s development. At the heart of the display is 'Light' (2018), an indoor sculpture by Michael Craig-Martin – the artist’s first sculpture of this kind created specifically for an indoor space – which was commissioned for 5 Broadgate. A tutor at London’s Goldsmiths College in the late 1980s, Craig-Martin taught many of the YBAs generation and lives and works just a short walk away from the new display.
Further personal connections emerged as the display developed. Alongside the new commission by Michael Craig-Martin hangs 'More Light Research' (2019), a white neon sculptural commission by Cerith Wyn Evans – who, quite coincidentally, is Craig-Martin’s neighbour. His proximity to the space was “important”, says Evans: “he was able to visit 5 Broadgate, and had a very intuitive reaction to its architecture – understanding how people, light and energy flow through it.”
Cerith Wyn Evans appears in other works in the new hang as subject, rather than artist: “We have two portraits of him in our Collection: a unique pastel drawing from 1989 titled 'Cerith' by modern master Lucian Freud, and another of the same name by YBA Gary Hume from 1998,” explains Evans. “Cerith also features in several etchings by Freud with other sitters, including his friend Leigh Bowery, featured in a major UBS Lucian Freud exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin in 2017.”
Women artists are prominently represented: "A pink neon titled 'Trust Me' by Tracey Emin is playfully displayed behind the building’s security barriers, toying with the message it conveys, as well as works by Fiona Banner and Angela Bulloch, reflecting the leading role of women in the YBA movement.” A new generation is also celebrated, with works by Ryan Gander, Alice Channer, Bonnie Camplin - nominated for the Turner Prize in 2015 – and Eddie Peake.
“One aspect that makes our Collection truly unique are the connections between its artists and artworks,” reflects Evans. The display also captures the diversity that is another of the UBS Art Collection’s defining characteristics: “I’ve included one of our first commissions by Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz Diez in 1975, as well as some of the most significant works in our global Collection, which represents artists from 70 countries.”