George Wyllie - The Berlin Burd

Wednesday 19 March - Saturday 21 June

(Main Hall and Public circulation area, Garden Meeting Rooms)

George Wyllie believed that art was best experienced in public spaces, instead of the gallery environment. He described his work as scul?ture, deliberately replacing the ‘p’ to signify the importance of questioning. One of the most challenging environments he worked in was at the Berlin Wall.

In 1988, his monumental Berlin Burd was displayed at the Berlin Wall at Reinickendorf as part of the European Capital of Culture in Berlin. The artist invited schoolchildren to participate by making their own birds for display alongside his giant scul?ture. The artist had a lifelong interest in ‘burds’, which symbolised freedom for the artist.

Constructed in 1961, the Berlin Wall separated East from West Berlin until it was torn down in November 1989. In 2009, the Berlin Burd and a segment of the Berlin Wall were permanently displayed in a site at the former route of the Wall in Wilhelmsruher Damm.

Artist Biography

George Wyllie was an artist, scul?tor and writer who preferred to work in public areas and outside of traditional museum and gallery environments. He also worked in theatre and film.

The artist is best known for The Straw Locomotive, The Paper Boat, A Day Down a Goldmine, Equilibrium of Spires and The Cosmic Voyage.

Wyllie described his work as scul?ture, deliberately replacing the ‘p’ to signify the importance of asking a question as part of his practice. Influenced by the Absurdist movements in theatre and art, his art often used absurdity and parody to question established valued and ways of thinking.

  • The Berlin Burd, George Wyllie MBE (1921-2012, lived and worked Gourock
    The Berlin Burd, George Wyllie MBE (1921-2012, lived and worked Gourock

    In 1988, his monumental Berlin Burd was displayed at the Berlin Wall at Reinickendorf as part of the European Capital of Culture in Berlin. The artist invited schoolchildren to participate by making their own birds for display alongside his giant scul?ture. The artist had a lifelong interest in ‘burds’, which symbolised freedom for the artist.

    Location: Main Hall

  • Maquette of Berlin Burd, stainless steel, George Wyllie, (1921-2012, lived and worked Gourock)
    Maquette of Berlin Burd, stainless steel, George Wyllie MBE, (1921-2012, lived and worked Gourock)

    This is a maquette for the giant Berlin Burd installed in Berlin.

    The inner wall of the Berlin Wall measured 3.6 metres high in places, so the monumental Burd appeared to look over it.

    Location: Public circulation area, Garden Meeting Rooms

     

  • Contemplace, 2007, stainless steel, stone by George Wyllie MBE (1921-2012, lived and worked Gourock)
    Contemplace, 2007, stainless steel, stone by George Wyllie MBE (1921-2012, lived and worked Gourock)

    This scul?ture is the artist’s idea for a Scottish throne. It combines references to the ancient Stone of Destiny, a stone used for the coronations of monarchs, and Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928). It pays homage to the design style of Mackintosh chairs which are characterised by a tall back section.

    Location: Main Hall

     

  • George Wyllie Letter to Schoolchildren, George Wyllie MBE (1921-2012, lived and worked Gourock)
    George Wyllie Letter to Schoolchildren, George Wyllie MBE (1921-2012, lived and worked Gourock)

    Letter about schoolchildren from Glasgow and Berlin participating in installation at Berlin Wall

    Location: Public circulation area, Garden Meeting Rooms

  • Artists Collage of Berlin Burd
    Berlin Burd Illustration, George Wyllie MBE (1921-2012, lived and worked Gourock)

    Drawing illustrating original display of large-scale sculpture.

    Location: Public circulation area, Garden Meeting Rooms