The Box acquires work by four contemporary artists as part of national fig-futures project

Eight works by four contemporary artists have been acquired for The Box for its permanent collections thanks to a national project that’s been testing a unique approach to curating and collecting.

Over the past 12 months fig-futures has been touring the UK, taking 18 artists to four different locations and giving them the opportunity to exhibit their work a week at a time.

The project began in Blackpool and then travelled to Cambridge and Leicester. It culminated in Plymouth last month with four week-long exhibitions at the KARST gallery in Stonehouse by Suzanne Treister, Eva Grubinger, Charlotte Moth and Laura Eldret.

Now, as the final exhibition closes, the project has announced a major set of acquisitions, which will benefit Plymouth as well as the other areas it toured to.

Yves Blais, project manager for fig-futures, said: "It’s been incredibly exciting to see a momentum build through the fig-futures exhibitions and to now announce this diverse set of acquisitions, the result of our innovative curating and collecting model. Many of the artworks have specific connections to the region or locality they’re entering. This means they’ll be enjoyed by and create new conversations for future generations and ensure the artists have a permanent voice within the nation’s art collections.”

The acquisitions for The Box include a painting and a print by British artist Suzanne Treister from her ‘SURVIVOR F’ series which explores ideas of the future.

A wall-hung work previously exhibited in two different exhibitions in Germany by Berlin-based Eva Grubinger is also being added to the city’s collections.

Grubinger’s work often uses scale and context to explore maritime-related concepts. Created in 2011 the abstract work ‘Untitled’ takes its starting point from an international shipping symbol relating to a ‘permanent blocking of a waterway’. This has been combined with a cross, which references the early Christian use of a fish as its symbol.

A series of four slide carousels by Paris-based Charlotte Moth have been acquired. The slides reference Plymouth’s post-war architecture with a particular focus on the iconic Pannier Market and Crownhill’s Church of the Ascension.

In the final week of fig-futures artist Laura Eldret turned KARST into a social space which hosted a choir, Morris dancers, artist groups, Taiko drummers and more. Eldret makes work about communities; how they form, what they make, and how that making identifies them. Plymouth has acquired one from a series of tapestries made to the artist’s design within a Zapotec community in Mexico called Portal on Dia de Muertos.

Nicola Moyle, head of heritage, art and film, Plymouth, said: “Having a long-term legacy from a temporary exhibition project isn’t always a given, so being able to acquire works by the four artists who we’ve collaborated with in Plymouth is something that really sets fig-futures apart. The exhibitions we’ve held have all been very different and that variety is also reflected in our acquisitions which are a great addition to our permanent collections.”

Overall 26 artworks have been acquired for UK collections as a result of fig-futures.

Ben Borthwick, freelance curator of Plymouth’s four fig-futures exhibitions said: “It’s been a brilliant experience to work on fig-futures in Plymouth. We’ve had large-scale sculpture, paintings, a community space and film and photographic installations, which all responded to the sense of place and allowed people from across the city to engage and participate. The acquisitions will continue to give them that opportunity.”