7 July 2015
First exhibited in 2003 in Hoxton Square park, ‘Charity’ (2002-2003) is now on display in the City of London as part of Sculpture in the City 2015. The Sculpture in the City initiative – now in its fifth year – features contemporary works from leading artists, set amongst London's iconic architectural landmarks.
‘Charity’, a 22-foot bronze sculpture based on The Spastics Society (now ‘Scope’) collection boxes commonly found outside local chemists in the 1960s, has been installed on Undershaft in front of the Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe, EC3A 8EP) next to St. Helen's Church. The sculpture was originally displayed as part of Romance in the Age of Uncertainty, Hirst’s solo exhibition at White Cube in 2003 and in 2012 was installed on the balcony of the Royal West of England Society in Bristol. Monumental yet vulnerable, the work plays on the art historical tradition of depicting the Virtue of Charity as a single female figure.
Hirst has long been a supporter of Scope, a charity that aims to improve the lives of disabled people in the UK. On the occasion of the installation, Alan Gosschalk, fundraising director at Scope, states: "'Charity' is an iconic piece of art. It is also a symbol of changing attitudes to disability over the past 50 years, since collection boxes like the one depicted in this sculpture were seen on high streets across the country [...] We hope that this sculpture will encourage conversations about disability amongst people in our capital."