David Kemp

The Ironmaster and the Miner 

David Kemp is one of the most brilliantly inventive sculptors working in Britain today.  His Old Transformers were created out of colossal scrapped engines from the demolished Consett steelworks, which at its peak had 6,000 employees.  Like two great Easter Island statues, they stare across the empty green fields where the factories once stood, mourning the passing of industrial Britain.

They are uplifting, moving and magnificent, but little-known because they are off the beaten track - unlike the Gateshead Flasher, designed by the hollow man of British sculpture, which casts its grim shadow over the A1 and the Great North Eastern Railway line. (For a full critique, see Books – The Eclipse of Art.)   ‘I’ve seen a miner and a steelworker round here,’ said one local wag, ‘but never a fucking angel!’

David Kemp’s masterpiece, which he has been working on for over 30 years, is his Botallack Hoard.  Projecting himself into the mind of an archaeologist of the future, he has discovered a  group of relics from our civilisation; from these precious fragments he attempts to reconstruct the images of the gods and goddesses we once worshipped. Echoing the artefacts of ancient history, of which he has a vast knowledge, Kemp’s treasury is at once beautiful, inventive, funny, moving and hauntingly telling about the true motivating forces of our times. It deserves a permanent gallery of its own within the British Museum. 

The Bottallack Hoard is almost impossible to photograph. Visit David Kemp’s website to get a glimpse of it, and of his inventiveness throughout the land.

For more information please visit David’s website: www.davidkemp.uk.com


from the Garden of Plastic Delights,

including the Hanging Baskets of Basildon 2010
(work in progress)