Social Sculpture by Kieren Reed explores the very nature of functionality, use value and social architecture, addressing notions of collaboration and relational art practice. Social Sculpture visually embodies the vernacular architecture of Whitstable Harbour, the Grade II listed site where the work was first exhibited for the 2012 Biennale. In this incarnation it has been adapted to serve as residential accommodation for visiting artists on part of Down Stairs’ residency programme.

Reed’s practice is concerned with the placement of sculpture in the landscape and how this can inform and question functionality and audience participation. Social Sculpture is about the conceptual space between form and functionality. As Wittgenstein wrote, ‘The meaning is the use’. The work needs both to act in real terms as usable architecture and simultaneously function aesthetically as sculpture. It only really becomes an artwork when its use value – that of a space/location – is activated.

Opening in August 2013, it marked a new stage in the evolution of Down Stairs. Humbly equipped yet beautifully made, it offers artists all that they really need to think in before, should they wish, heading to their studio within The Stables. It’s inaugural residents were Elliott Burns and Jonny Briggs. We are currently taking applications for 2014 residencies.

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The work of Kieren Reed at Down Stairs has been generously supported through the Arts Council’s Grants For The Arts funding programme.