Human Sculpture

06.06.09 - 14.06.09

The Human Sculpture

As part of an exhibition in Studio Warehouse Eva Merz is creating a ‘Human Sculpture’, built on-site and containing women’s clothing donated from all over the world. The sculpture will show that people on the outside are concerned about the voiceless population in prison. The exhibition, which includes other works of art, books, films and a public discussions event, will focus on various means of campaigning and, ultimately, question current politics on women in prison and the criminal justice system.

Women’s clothes donated by 75 (mainly) female friends, family and colleagues from all over Scotland, the UK and ten other countries. Two months ago I sent out emails and facebook messages calling for contributions to this sculpture, which should raise attention to women in prison and the problems they have. The contributors responded to the following brief:

I am working on a long-term project about women in prison and making work for an exhibition in Glasgow later this spring. I plan to create a sculpture made up of women’s clothing, which will show that people on the outside are concerned and question current politics on criminal justice: 

Although this project recognises that there are many boys and men who shouldn’t be in prison, the situation is unfortunately much more desperate for women. A few facts from Scotland: Over the past ten years the female prison population has doubled. In Cornton Vale, Scotland’s only women’s prison, the majority of inmates are low-level offenders, 90% have drug and alcohol problems, 80% have mental health problems, 70% have experienced some form of abuse in their lives, and two thirds are mothers. All research points in the same direction: society urgently needs alternatives to the imprisonment of these women. Despite the evidence little changes and public opinion is often based on misleading press coverage. I want to  build bridges of understanding by offering visibility and providing well-researched and accessible information, so as to challenge public perception of crime and punishment. The exhibition will include artwork, books, reports and statistics, films and a public discussion event. This exhibition will also build towards a substantial publication later on in the project.