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UCL professor and sculptor Edward Allington dies

29 September 2017

Sculptor, artist and UCL professor Edward Allington who taught and inspired a generation of artists including some of Britain’s most famous modern sculptors has died at the age of 66.

allington

The Cumbrian-born artist was best known for his part in the 1980s New British Sculpture Movement but will also be remembered for the young artists he taught at UCL’s Slade School of Fine Art and other colleges over nearly four decades including Turner Prize Winner Rachel Whiteread. Rachel, currently exhibiting at Tate Britain, credited Edward with teaching her casting when she was a student at Brighton (and the rest is history).

Edward’s work has been exhibited widely in America, Japan and throughout Europe and is represented in major public, private and corporate collections, including the Arts Council, Tate, Henry Moore Institute, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and The British Museum. He also completed major public and private commissions in the UK, Germany and France.

Born in Cumbria in 1951, Edward studied at Lancaster College of Art (1968-1971), Central School of Art and Design (1971-1974) and at the Royal College of Art (1983-1984).

Usually identified with the British object sculptors of the 1980s, his practice is based on drawing and the assimilation of the abhorrent through the use of contemporary artificial objects and classical imagery.

Edward taught at the Slade from 1990 alongside artists including Phyllida Barlow and Bruce McLean, becoming Head of Graduate Sculpture in 2000 and Professor of Sculpture in 2006. His depth and breadth of knowledge ranged from classical antiquity to contemporary automobile design, and his lectures  on a wide range of topics, from Zombies to Kitsch were legendary.

Other key artists who were taught by Edward who came through Graduate Sculpture at the Slade include: Turner Prize nominees: Angela De La Cruz, Tomoko Takahashi also Meekyoung Shin and Conrad Shawcross to name but a few.

At the Slade, Edward’s sculptural interests and depth of knowledge has led to interdisciplinary initiatives such as a collaboration with UCL Archaeology, looking at the relationship between 3d digital scanning and mould making for bronze casting.

On a less formal note Ed was a self-confessed petrol head. Last year he finally completed the restoration of his beloved early Harley Davidson racer which is currently on loan to the national motorcycle museum. And just last week he managed the purchase of a 1978 MVAugusta 125 from his hospital bed, which raised his spirits no end.

He died on Thursday September 21, and leaves behind his partner Asako, and his children Thalia and Harry.

In a tribute published online, Professor Susan Collins, director of the Slade, and Gary Woodley, UCL lecturer and artist, wrote: “His contribution to contemporary art and to sculpture in particular was profound. His generosity, wit and wisdom touched and influenced all of us who were privileged enough to know, work with or be taught by him.”

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