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Luna Park 10 Years - a case study for public art in the 21st Century Posted on 29 Jul 2020

Luna Park 10 Years - a case study for public art in the 21st Century

Exactly 10 years ago, we commissioned Luna Park – a 16-metre tall sculpture of an Ultrasaurus by artist-duo Heather & Ivan Morison.

Inspired by the iconic roadside dinosaur sculptures of America, the original Luna Park was first installed on 31 July 2010 on Southsea Common and was visited, photographed, climbed on and enjoyed by thousands of people until it unexpectedly burnt down on 1 October. The sculpture had been due to travel on to Colchester before arriving in Cardiff as part of a touring partnership between Chapter, Firstsite and Aspex. 

To mark ten years since Luna Park, Heather and Ivan join Joanne Bushnell, Director of Aspex and Hannah Firth, our Director of Programme, to discuss the original project, it’s new iteration in Virtual Reality (Luna Park 10 Years commissioned by Aspex), and plans for a permanent tribute to be installed in Portsmouth next year.

The virtual event will take place on Sunday 2 August, 7pm. It’s free to attend and advance booking is essential. To book your place, please click here

Mindful of recent debate about who chooses sculptures and statues in public space, the conversation will consider the impact of a temporary work like Luna Park, and how ten years on from a commission led by Chapter, the Ultrasaurus sculpture is now firmly held by the people of Portsmouth as part of their city’s heritage. 

An Unreachable Country. A Long Way To Go a film that charts the production of the original sculpture in rural Serbia, is available to watch online here.

About Heather and Ivan Morison 
Heather Peak and Ivan Morison have worked together as an artist duo, under the name Heather and Ivan Morison, since 2003, establishing an ambitious collaborative practice that transcends the divisions between art, architecture and theatre. They have exhibited widely across the UK, Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA. 

Key projects include: I Will Be With You, Whatever, BISS, Munich, 2018; Sleepers Awake, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2014; All’s Well That Ends, Schauspielhaus Bochum, Germany; Smile All the While, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 2014; Shadow Curriculum, South London Gallery, London, 2014; Skirt of the Black Mouth, Tate Modern, London, 2012-15; Nuclear Family, National Theatre Wales, 2013; Black Pleasure, Eastside Projects, Birmingham, 2013; Anna, The Hepworth, Wakefield, 2012; Cave, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, 2012; Black Pig Lodge, Southbank Centre, London, 2011; Mr. Clevver, Contemporary Art Spaces Tasmania, Australia, 2011; Plaza , Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada, 2010; The Black Line Void, Derry, 2009; Black Cloud, Situations, Bristol, 2009; Journée des Barricades, One Day Sculpture, Wellington, New Zealand, 2008; And So it Goes, representing Wales at the 52nd Venice Biennale, 2007. Their book, Falling into Place, a fictionalised account of their large architectural shelter works, was published by Bookworks in 2009, and was made into an audio book by Palaver Press, New York in 2014. 

Luna Park (2010) was commissioned by Chapter in collaboration with Safle through the Studio Safle programme, Aspex Portsmouth and Firstsite Colchester. The project received generous financial support from Safle, The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council England through Sustain and was part-financed by the European Union. 

Luna Park 10 Years (2020) is delivered by Aspex in partnership with Portsmouth Creates, Portsmouth City Council, the University of Portsmouth, Chapter and PONToon, an EU Interreg France (Channel) England funded project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. 

For more information about the Luna Park 10 Years programme in Portsmouth, commissioned and led by Aspex visit their website here.


undefinedPhoto credits: John Daniels (header image), images top-bottom Mike Cooter (top image), Bob Franklin (bottom image)