Paper Leaves and Concrete Trees

Martin Boyce (1967 - )

Burnished brass, and oxidised acid-etched brass; site-specific installation


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  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Ministry of Justice, 102 Petty France

    Paper Leaves and Concrete Trees, a work by Martin Boyce, was one of four works that were specially commissioned by the Government Art Collection in 2008 for the newly-refurbished Ministry of Justice building in central London. Works by Lothar Götz, Nathaniel Rackowe and Conrad Shawcross were also commissioned for the building.

    Its title refers to the brass letters that sit in relief around the four sides of the interior of the atrium at the Ministry of Justice. Some of the letters are on their side and others are upside down, yet pieced together they form a fractured, poetic narrative that refers to the construction of the building and its modernist history. At random points in the text sequence, the work is punctuated by four brass grills, designed to look like air ventilation vents. Boyce has used similar grills in many of his recent pieces, seeing them as grids that introduce the idea of the metropolis into his work. Boyce also sees the grill as providing a link to the 'hidden guts of the building' while forming 'a threshold linking other spaces and stories'.

    Martin Boyce was born in 1967 in Glasgow. He attended Glasgow School of Art between 1986 and 1990, returning to complete Master's Degree in Fine Art in 1997. He also attended the California Institute for the Arts in 1996. He has had numerous solo exhibitions in the UK and across the world.

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    Paper Leaves and Concrete Trees
    Burnished brass, and oxidised acid-etched brass; site-specific installation
    height: 115.00 cm, width: 4596.00 cm
    Commissioned from the artist for the Ministry of Justice building, London, August 2008
    the artist
    GAC number