The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is the largest repository of maritime art in the world, and rightly celebrates a rich past of paintings inspired by the sea. NEW VISIONS OF THE SEA demonstrates a commitment to creating a heritage of radical artworks for the future and to the opening up of such works to a wider audience. Perhaps most notable about these commissions then, is the way in which they are woven into the very fabric of the new galleries both physically and through their chosen subject matter.

Rosie Leventon has received a sculpture commission relating to the display of the salvaged stern of HMS Implacable, a 74- gun French ship in service at the Battle of Trafalgar. Implacable was scuttled in 1949, but the salvaged carved stern will be displayed for the first time in Neptune Court. Suspended in front of this her glass sculpture ‘Absentee’ is a ghostly recreation of the shape of the historic ship. Made from hundreds of pieces of glass, linked like chain mail, it shimmers in the shafts of light which shine through the glass dome (Press information NMM). It now has a permanent home in the Queens House next to the NMM.

Called 'Absentee' as if it were the ghost of a ship, it is for me, along with Ocean's painting, the most successful of these commissioned works, for being the least literal, limited and imaginatively limiting - the sins of conceptual art. Ambiguous in its presence, intruiging in its form and substance, entirely itself, it is a proper sculpture. - William Packer, Financial Times

300 x 200 x 110 cm

Glass, stainless steel cable.


Commission: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich UK.