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Te 60s and 70s use of concrete as an architectural
building material, in my view, is rather overlooked
as a source of beauty and aesthetic accomplishment.
Perhaps some have become a tad tatty in places, but
there is something of a wonder around the back of
one of these edifces, the Merrion shopping centre,
which continues to bring joy to those who stop and
look. Te Merrion Centre Mosaic by Eric Taylor,
former head of Leeds College of Art, is as fresh
as the day it was fabricated by Oppenheimers of
Manchester, and its content is all the more poignant
today as we struggle to manage our brave new world.
is Co-Founder of East Street Arts.
He tweets
Eric Taylor, Te Merrion Centre
Mosaic.Back ofTeMerrionCentre.
Photograph © Jon Wakeman
Te sculpture I like best
in Leeds is Androgyne by Glenn Hellman (1965).
It might seem an unlikely contender, hidden away
in a forgotten corner behind the Merrion Centre,
but in its day people queued up to see it and maybe
that’s why I like it so much. I do love its scale, form
and texture (aluminium, not bronze or fbre glass).
In fact, it looks almost cartoon-like, as if it might
just climb down from its plinth and go stomping
of into town!
is Director of the Northern Art
Prize and Co-Director of PSL
[Project Space Leeds]
Glenn Hellman, Androgyne, 1965
Back of Te Merrion Centre.
Reading about Frances Bacon
during a misspent school holiday was one of the
things that led me to be a student of art history.
Years later, arriving to take up a new post at Leeds
Art Gallery, I was amazed to fnd that the gallery
had one of his works in its collection. In fact back
in 1951, Leeds was the frst public collection –
after the Tate and MOMA, New York – to buy a
Bacon painting. I have to confess to being a little
crestfallen. It wasn’t recognisably ‘classic’ Bacon.
Continual looking and research, over the years, has
revealed it to be a fascinating painting, one from a
period of intense experimentation, which carries the
hallmarks, the DNA, of Bacon’s subsequent work,
and I’ve come to truly appreciate the enigma of its
simple title – Painting.
Nigel Walsh is Curator –
Contemporary Art, Leeds
Art Gallery,
The Artful City