Cabot Circus is a shopping centre adjacent to Broadmead shopping district which opened in September 2008, after a ten-year planning and building project costing £500 million. The Cabot Circus development contains shops, offices, a cinema, hotel and 250 apartments and covers a total of 139,350 m2 (1,500,000 sq. ft.) of floor space. As part of the development London based art consultants InSite Arts were commissioned to develop a permanent and temporary public art commissions programme which included Neville Gabie’s ‘R310 RCF Ford Mondeo’.
"My biggest anxiety, how to track my exact 680kgs of Ford Mondeo throughout the process, was unbelievably easy to resolve. From the moment the scrap steel is lifted into the furnace it is given a ‘cast number’ which lives with it for ever. 680kgs of 32mm re-bar is enough to make the steelwork for one and a half concrete columns in the new carpark."Neville Gabie
In 2006 Neville Gabie was commissioned by Insite Arts on behalf of the Bristol Alliance to be artist in residence on a 37 acre city centre redevelopment in Bristol. With an onsite studio, Neville was give free access to any part of the building site as well as the opportunity to attend board meetings and site meetings.
Over that period Neville Gabie produced four publications covering several specific pieces of work, and two permanent works, one of which is ‘R310 RCF Ford Mondeo’. In addition with the support of Insite Arts and Bristol Alliance and with Arts Council funding Neville Gabie invited and seven additional artists to make temporary work in response to the development.
‘R310 RCF Ford Mondeo’ was based upon the supply and sourcing of construction materials, in a project that involved the journey and transformation of a Ford Mondeo car as a recycled reinforcing bar within the Cabot Circus car park. The work pays homage to the fact that all the reinforcing steel used to construct the car park was 100% recycled. The car, purchased by Neville on E-bay, was driven to a scrap yard in Newport where it was de-polluted and shredded to become 680 kgs of steel which was then transported to Celsa, the Spanish-owned steelworks in Cardiff, where it was melted down and turned into a 32 mm re-bar. The cast number given to the steel scrap enabled it to be tracked to its final destination in a concrete column on the car park’s third level where the Ford Mondeo’s registration number ‘R310 RCF’ is permanently inscribed into the column to mark its location.
Neville’s practice is focused on responding to locations which are in the process of change. In practical terms his work has been manifested as a series of temporary interventions, books and films made in response to specific locations or situations.
These sites are not arbitrary or randomly selected, but fit together, being places in a state of physical or social flux. Projects are developed over a sustained period of time and often involve working in collaboration with other artists and writers.
Previous projects include POSTS published by Penguin Books [photographs from this publication have been exhibited in Japan Korea, Germany, Portugal, South Africa and the UK] Artist in Residence at Tate Liverpool; a four month residency at Halley Research Station, Antarctica with the British Antarctic survey; three years as artist in residence on a building site in Bristol – Cabot Circus ‘bs1’ and a five year project in a North Liverpool Tower block ‘up in the air’.
He has worked on residencies as far afield as Guangzhou in China, a remote town in western Australia at International Art Space Kellerberrin Australia, as well as working on a photographic project with the NGO ‘Right to Play’ in Afghan Refugee camps in Pakistan. The ‘Right to Play’ programme was established by a three-time Olympic gold medal winner Johann Koss. His work is included in the Tate Gallery and Arts Council Collections.
InSite Arts is a public art organisation founded by Sarah Collicott and Sam Wilkinson in 2001. InSite Arts works in partnership with its clients to generate and deliver innovative and relevant public art and arts initiatives in diversity of scales and in a wide variety of media.
InSite Arts develop strategies and artworks and have commissioned a wide range of projects from temporary events to permanent installations, from the more intimately scaled art projects through to major landmark installations integrated into the public realm and architectural schemes.
At the heart of their work is our staunch commitment to commissioning artwork which will inspire and intrigue, which become a fundamental part of a successful building, development, town or city. This can only be achieved by working closely with and supporting artists and clients throughout the course of the art project/programme, through to installation. Successfully conceived and delivered public artworks draw inspiration from a thorough understanding of location, the potential ‘audience’, history of the site and the aspirations of client and design team.