• Eva Rothschild



      Art Basel OVR: Portals

  • For the occasion of Art Basel OVR: Portals, Modern Art is pleased to present an overview of outdoor sculpture by the Irish artist Eva Rothschild (b. 1971). The gallery will highlight significant works from the past decade, namely Empire (2011), Living Spring (2011), This and This and This (2013), and Cosmos (2018).


    Rothschild is one of the leading contemporary artists in Britain and solo shows of her work include Tate Britain Duveen Galleries, The Nasher Sculpture Centre in Dallas, The South London Gallery, Kunstverein Hannover and Kunsthalle Zurich. In 2011 Rothschild was the inaugural exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield and in 2019 she represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale. 

  • Cold Corners, 2009, commissioned for Tate Britain Duveen Galleries
  • Alongside her studio practice Rothschild has been a pioneer in the field of public sculpture for the last decade, often encouraging the public to actively touch, sit and walk through them, stressing that they are made with the watching world in mind. With a wide array of public commissions installed throughout Europe and the USA, Rothschild's sculptures activate social spaces and in these outdoor works the rhythms of the natural and urban worlds operate as a formal prologue, foreboding the environment they wish to disrupt. 


    In 2009, Eva Rothschild filled Tate Britain with a sculpture that extended seventy metres in length as part of the prestigious Duveens Series. Gaining Rothschild international recognition, Cold Corners assimilated twenty-six colossal triangles into a single sculptural body, robustly dealing with the scale of Tate Britain’s neoclassical central galleries, as if it were a garland of geometric flags strung through the gallery space. This important installation could be seen as an introduction to the ways in which Rothschild’s art invites the viewer to engage, scrutinise and physically navigate the sculptural space of her work.

  • The Shrinking Universe, 2019, Ireland Pavilion, 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

  • Cosmos (2018) marks the structural essence of Rothschild’s outdoor sculptures: a succession of aluminium vectors that form independent bodies which unite and rise stronger than the sum of its parts. This material codependence, in which things are patterned into surgical accord, shines with self-reflection, anticipating embodied spectatorship as much as it pre-empts it. Each three metres tall, three rectangular panels stand in geometric perfection and evoke a minimalist fascination with the pure line. Blocking off the outside world, these poles weld into substantial walls that produce a makeshift semi-interior from which one can see and be seen. Like a building of its own, Cosmos mimics the skyscrapers of St Helen's and The Leadenhall which envelop it from either side. Yet there is defiance locked into its blank openness, in it puncturing the familiar notation of London’s urban architecture and its habitual code in keeping the public out. At first glance the eye is met by strict angular lines coated in pure black, a formal ode to Rothschild’s modernist roots. But as the viewer looks again, Cosmos subtly discloses its blushing skin in a moment of transformative revelation. Violet, green, blue and pink blend into one another, the palette inspired by images from the Hubble Space Telescope. The viewer catches this, but only at second glance, a perspectival game that is far from coincidental. This attests to the transformative potential of public sculpture, a medium that activates and is activated by the embodied gaze. Cosmos encapsulates a dialogue between man and material that has been at the heart of Rothschild’s outdoor work, contending with its own definition of sculpture, and the city.

  • Cosmos, 2018, installation view, Sculpture in the City, London, 2021
  • In 2011 Rothschild installed Empire with the Public Art Fund in New York City, situated at the southeast corner of Central Park. Standing over six metres tall and painted in Rothschild’s recurring palette of black, red and green, Empire presented an imposing branch like form that towered over pedestrians who could walk through the sculpture, as if it were a planted gateway into the park. An edition of Empire has joined the permanent collection at the Walker Art Centre and can be seen in their iconic sculpture garden in Minneapolis.

  • Empire, 2011, installation view, Public Art Fund, 2011, New York City, NY, USA
  • Empire, 2011, installation view, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • Completed in the same year, Living Spring is a slender, self-supporting structure. The divergent branch-like sculpture references the natural world...

    Living Spring, 2011

    Completed in the same year, Living Spring is a slender, self-supporting structure. The divergent branch-like sculpture references the natural world but Rothschild's highly controlled use of colour and the exactitude of the cylindrical steel construction align the piece within a more hard-edged minimalist tradition. Painted in a palette of black, red and green, Rothschild’s signature stripes encourage active looking. Living Spring relates to the major site-specific installation Why Don’t You?, made in 2012 for the Nasher Sculpture in Dallas - a meandering serpentine sculpture which occupied the museum’s entrance walls, floor, desks, stairs, and doorways. From July 2021, Living Spring will be exhibited in The Line, London’s dedicated public art walk.

  • Why Don't You (Dallas), 2012, commissioned by the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas, USA
  • Rising five-metres tall, This and This and This (2013) balances three aluminium and steel triangles onto one another. Buffeted by its own immense weight, two triangles topple forward, each held by the other from gravitational collapse. In 2015 This and This and This was shown at the Jesus College, University of Cambridge as part of the celebrated biennial Sculpture in the Close. It anticipated further large-scale work, prompting, among others, Rothschild’s Live Edge (2016) which was commissioned by the Cleveland Clinic to promote wellbeing and recovery through contemporary art. 

  • This and This and This, 2013
  • This and This and This, 2013, installation view, Sculpture in the Close, 2015, Jesus College in The University of Cambridge, Cambridge
  • Nature and Culture, 2014
  • Last year Rothschild unveiled her first permanent sculpture commission in London. My World and Your World stands over fifteen meters high above the Lewis Cubitt Park in Kings Cross, and like Empire its foreboding and monumental scale is undermined by its branch like organism. Most recently, in June 2021, Rothschild’s large scale work Cosmos has been installed in Sculpture In the City 2021, a coalition of open-air artworks in the City of London alongside artists including Mark Handforth, Laure Prouvost and Alice Channer.

  • My World and Your World, 2020, commissioned by The King's Cross Project, Lewis Cubitt Park, London