Cast Contemporaries: Artists respond to the completion of the Cast Collection Project at Edinburgh College of Art

Joan Smith (Artist), Christine Borland (Artist), Charles Stiven (Artist), Bill Hare, Beverley Hood (Artist), Norman McBeath (Photographer), Chris Dorsett (Artist), Margaret Stewart (Other), Andrew Sneddon (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


Artists respond to the completion of the Cast Collection Project at Edinburgh College of Art

An exhibition curated by Chris Dorsett in collaboration with Margaret Stewart (ECA Cast Collection)

3rd August – 2nd September 2012. 10-5 daily

Cast Contemporaries is a group exhibition, presented as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival, that evokes contrasting responses to the fate of plaster cast collections in art schools. Many contemporary artists question the relevance of preserving reproductions of antique sculptures, anatomical figures and architectural details. However a growing number of young and emergent practitioners are rethinking the role of these historic educational resources. Edinburgh College of Art has one of the most important cast collections in the UK and, following a two year project in which this unique legacy has been conserved and researched, Cast Contemporaries will consider the casts as catalysts for future visual arts experimentation. The exhibition, which reinterprets Edinburgh’s casts with contemporary artworks and contextualising films, is a collaboration between Chris Dorsett, an artist whose exhibitions combine contemporary fine art practices with museum display, and Margaret Stewart, curator of the Collection at the College. Visitors to Cast Contemporaries will experience first-hand what Stuckists make of the Neoclassical tradition, how installation artists find unexpected uses for casts that have been stored away for decades, and why young artists immersed in the imagery of popular culture are looking again at antique sculptures.

The Cast Contemporaries exhibition concludes a three year project Edinburgh Cast Collection: Research/Conservation/Interpretation led by Margaret Stewart, Cast Curator at Edinburgh College of Art and funded by Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh and the Heritage Lottery fund.

Exhibiting artists:
Christine Borland, Tim Croft, Douglas Cruikshank & Scott Licznerski, Chris Dorsett Graeme Durant, FACTICE (Corinne Felgate & Ludovica Gioscia), John Farrugia, Gareth Fisher, Clare Flatley, Bill Hare, Paul Harvey, Beverley Hood, Kenny Hunter, Murdo Macdonald, Norman McBeath, Maria Mitsoula, Steven Morant, Kelly Pearson, Dylan Shields, Joan Smith, Andrew Sneddon, Chris Speed / Jane Macdonald / Jules Rawlinson / Margaret Stewart, Charles Stiven, Alexander Stoddart, Ruxandra-Iulia Stoica / Graciela Ainsworth.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNorthumbria University
PublisherArts and Social Sciences Academic press, Northumbria University
EditionISBN 978-0-9565433-5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2012


  • Art object, Materialism, production, critical debate
  • Casts, Sculpture, myth
  • exhibition


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