Barbara Hepworth sculpture stolen from Dulwich Park to be replaced with 'anti-theft' works by Conrad Shawcross

Sculptor wins contest for south London park with theft-proof heavyweight pieces

The competition to replace a much-loved sculpture stolen from Dulwich Park in south London has been won by a rising star of the British art scene with a work weighted with concrete to foil potential thieves.

Conrad Shawcross’s work Three Perpetual Chords, a series of sculptures, has been selected to be permanently installed in the park to replace a Barbara Hepworth bronze stolen two years ago, The Independent can reveal.

The youngest living Royal Academician, known for his large-scale moving sculptures, Shawcross triumphed over the Turner Prize nominee Anya Gallaccio; Ryan Gander, who won the Zurich Art Prize; and Eva Rothschild.

He said he was “delighted” that his proposal had been accepted, adding: “It is an honour to have been selected, given the legacy of Barbara Hepworth.”

Hepworth’s sculpture Two Forms (Divided Circle) was cut from its plinth in December 2011 by suspected scrap metal thieves who had broken into the park late at night.

The work was never recovered, and authorities believe it was probably melted down and sold; one of a series of thefts of public artwork across the country believed to be for the value of the metal.

This month a Henry Moore statue valued at £3m was stolen from Glenkiln Sculpture Park in Scotland. A previous Moore sculpture that had been taken was melted down and turned into electrical parts.

While a bronze or copper sculpture can be worth millions as an artwork, thieves would get only a few thousand pounds for the melted-down metal.

The theft of the Hepworth sculpture left many locals distraught and Southwark Council moved to commission a new artwork for the park, calling in the Contemporary Art Society to run the competition. Initially the guidelines stipulated that the work could not be made out of metal – to prevent thieves targeting it.

The shortlisted artists provided models, videos and statements for their proposed works and the public was invited to comment on them earlier this year.

Hundreds came to see the proposed commissions. Helen Nisbet, a consultant at the Contemporary Art Society, said: “The Dulwich public were hugely engaged. They really loved the Hepworth and were emotionally attached to it. This process meant a lot to them.”

Shawcross’s proposal will be unveiled as the winner on Monday. Ms Nisbet said: “The public really loved the fact that it related to the Hepworth with the material. We initially said no metal, but Conrad has found a way to use a cheaper metal, and filling it with concrete makes it harder to steal.”

The work will be made of cast iron – the material used for manhole covers and Victorian pipes – and filled with concrete. “The material itself is not valuable,” Shawcross said.

He wants visitors to the park to climb on the three sculptures and sit in them. “They are quite approachable and fun, I hope, and something people would enjoy.”

He continued: “The idea is you can just see the next one when you arrive at the first one. They are these abstract forms that encourage you to come towards them. They are not on plinths, they’re in the grass.”

Shawcross’s work came to wider notice when Charles Saatchi bought a piece in 2003. He has gone on to be displayed around the world.

Last year he collaborated with the Royal Ballet and the National Gallery on a piece for the Cultural Olympiad, and most recently he turned the Roundhouse in Camden into a giant timepiece. The artist, who was born in 1977, was elected to the Royal Academy earlier this year.

Arts and Entertainment
Novelist Martin Amis at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

books
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'

After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violence

film
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams will be given a 'meaningful remembrance' at the Emmy Awards

film
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Cliff Richard performs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 17 May 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Educating the East End returns to Channel 4 this autumn

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch will voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis' movie take on The Jungle Book

film
Arts and Entertainment
DJ Calvin Harris performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush

music
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Mark Crown, DJ Locksmith and Amir Amor of Rudimental performing on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park, Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
Gary Lineker at the UK Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from
film
Arts and Entertainment
Johhny Cash in 1969
musicDyess Colony, where singer grew up in Depression-era Arkansas, opens to the public
Arts and Entertainment
Army dreamers: Randy Couture, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tvReview: It's not going to set the comedy world alight but it's a gentle evening watch
Arts and Entertainment
Umar Ahmed and Kiran Sonia Sawar in ‘My Name Is...’
Theatre
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home