Artist and Director of the Sculpture Programme at ECA Kenny Hunter, has completed a new site-specific artwork which will be officially launched in London today (13th October 2016).

Kenny was commissioned to create a frieze around a building in Leicester Square, London. The building’s owners and architects retained its original 1930s façade and Kenny’s artwork – a series of 42 aluminium panels depicting a blackbird in flight – has been placed into the former first floor window apertures on all four sides of the building.

Kenny said that the blackbird “has a simple beauty to it…, with that yellow ring around its eye and its yellow beak. There is a history of gold-leaf on small details in buildings of this type. So I felt it was appropriate to use aluminium and gold and a singular black dye – a very reduced palette that is graphically strong.”

This largely monochromatic bird has also allowed him to suggest the origins of cinema. Taking inspiration from Eadweard Muybridge and his pioneering photographic studies of motion. According to Kenny “the window apertures that were presented as part of the template for the artwork suggested sequential movement. There was a nice overlaying of the tradition of the frieze and the film strip”.

All of the birds have been made in Edinburgh at Powderhall Bronze Ltd and took 18 months to cast and finish by hand.

Kenny is the programme director for ECA’s undergraduate Sculpture programme. He lives in Edinburgh and has exhibited extensively abroad and in the UK, including solo exhibitions at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. He has created a number of high profile public art commissions, including Youth with split apple for Kings College, Aberdeen, and Citizen firefighter outside Glasgow’s Central Station.