Born 1961, Cardiff, Wales
Lives and works in London, England

Year created:
Bird, Laura Ford
Click images for larger view

51” x 39 ½” x 21 ½”

Painted Bronze, ed. 4/5
Lent by the Artist, Courtesy of Christian Scheffel

No longer on view.

Standing 4’3” tall, Laura Ford’s Bird is a cast bronze figure perched at the edge of the Sculpture Park. Its tail and pointed beak are obvious identifiers, but upon closer examination, it becomes clear that Bird is quite unsettling; the figure’s legs and feet are that of a child and the bird is missing its eyes.  

Bird exemplifies Ford’s overarching interest in childhood clichés and dream-like scenarios, which she presents in mysterious beings that are part human, part animal. Developed through recollections of her own youth, Ford’s sculptures also reference fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Many pieces seem to hover between the real and unreal, and serve as an exploration of the strangeness of childhood – or the ways in which children grapple with the difference between real life and fantasy. As a result, the tangible dreaminess of Ford’s work functions as a subtle contemporary take on films by Jean Cocteau and David Lynch, which the artist herself has cited as having a large influence on her practice. 

Looking at Bird in relation to another Laura Ford installation in the Park, Armour Boys, reveals more sinister undertones. Bird gazes directly at the fallen soldiers and although these works are unrelated, the siting creates an undeniable connection, furthering the intrigue and mystery of both. Is the bird hunting its prey, watching over the small figures, or perhaps even responsible for the boys demise? 

Laura Ford was born in Cardiff, Wales and studied art at Bath Academy of Art before receiving her MA in Sculpture from the Chelsea School of Art. She has had solo exhibitions at Camden Arts Center in London, Arnolfini in Bristol, UK, and the Centre of Contemporary Art in Salamanca, Spain. Her work was chosen to represent Wales in the 2005 Venice Biennial and was included in the Miami Art Museum exhibition, Figuratively Speaking. Ford lives and works in London.

Taken off view December 2013.