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George Wyllie’s 'Paper Boat' was built in 1989 it sailed through Glasgow, London, Antwerp, Dumfries and the East coast of Scotland. It made the front page of the Wall Street Journal as it berthed at the World Financial Centre in New York in 1990. Measuring an impressive 78 feet in length, the 'Paper Boat' had a steel frame clad in sheets of plastic and gauze, velcroed together, which opened to reveal a viewing platform, from which rose a question mark.
Funded by Gulbenkian, the project was multi-faceted: a nice bit of engineering, street theatre and exhibitions. The 'Paper Boat' provoked fresh interpretations in every place she visited. Following seven years of active service, she made her final voyage in 1996, sailing under the Forth Bridges to Inverkeithing shipbreakers where she was dismantled. The seeming insubstantiality of the 'Paper Boat' was widely understood and appreciated as a commentary on the loss of the west of Scotland's once buoyant shipbuilding industry.
The Paper Boat
H 2438 x W 853 cm