STONE project and Milestone Carve

August 2009

Publication: The Times

STONE project and Milestone Carve
Pier Art Centre
19 June - 21 August 2010

The Pier Arts Centre celebrates the art of stone carving with an exhibition of work by 11 international sculptors created at a unique live carving event at Edinburgh College of Art last year. 

Milestone, an ambitious international research project by Jake Harvey, Professor of Sculpture at the college, investigates stone: how it is quarried and the diverse ways this versatile and varied material is used as a sculptural medium. An accompanying exhibition shows some of the results of this research and showcases the work of ten contemporary artists – including Joel Fisher, Daniel Silver, Gerard Mas, Sibylle Pasche and Susanne Specht - who sculpted in situ last year at the college.


The results are an involving and absorbing show where, for example, the respective technologies of East and West are juxtaposed, showing highly differing sensibilities. In India, for example, certain types of chisel and drill can be used only for a few minutes before requiring resharpening. Indeed, many of these more ‘primitive’ tools may be seen as beautiful art objects in their own right. By contrast, tungsten carbide steel – now used almost ubiquitously in the West – has an almost indefinite lifespan but seems dull and purely functional by comparison.

As the stone-cutting disks, pneumatic chisels and sand-blasting equipment whirr and ground in the college’s external courtyard, visitors inside could (and still can) witness a moving and poignant film of a sole woman labourer in a vast Indian granite quarry. The delicate figure repeatedly lifts an oversized sledgehammer as she painstaking pulverises the brittle stone. Atsuo Okamoto has cut his head-sized sculpture ‘Volume of Lives (UK)’ into thirty-four numbered sections. Each of these he intends to distribute to different individuals who will retain them for five years before the work is reassembled. Thus, each piece will bear the record of its ‘journey,’ resulting in an artwork with nuanced but differing detail.