Bowater House, Golden Lane Estate, London EC1Y 0RJ. View from Fann Street, EC1.
October 5 – December 10.
Spectres of Modernism is an installation of protest art banners emblazoned with slogans dreamt up by leading artists and writers including Turner Prize winners Jeremy Deller and Elizabeth Price and Booker Prize nominated author Tom McCarthy. The banners will hang from the balconies of flats in Bowater House directly opposite The Denizen, Taylor Wimpey’s planned luxury apartment block on the corner of Golden Lane and Fann Street, close to London’s financial centre. Slogans such as ‘Zombie Investors Take Stock’, ‘Homes for Heroes’, ‘children need sunlight to grow’ and ‘parasites will starve in this carcass of culture’, oppose the new development and draw attention to the failure of neo-liberal economics in Britain’s cities; its legacies of social cleansing, housing crisis, and damage to modernist architectural heritage, as well as the art-washing of urban devastation.
The Denizen has planning permission from the City of London council and will overshadow local homes, the adjacent Jewin Welsh Chapel, Fortune Street Park, Richard Cloudesley and Prior Weston Schools and the Golden Lane Children’s Centre. Sunlight is being stolen from children, residents and local workers to create ghost homes for investors who won’t live in them. The community in Bowater House who will lose up to 70 percent of the light coming into their flats have collaborated on the exhibition. The entire installation has been designed by Fraser Muggeridge Studio to appear as a colourful, high impact collage of architecture and text. The exhibition is curated by Clare Carolin.
Bowater House is part of Golden Lane Estate, an ensemble of grade II listed social housing designed in the 1950s and occupying a former World War II bombsite. Taylor Wimpey’s development entails the demolition of Bernard Morgan House, a classic example of civic modernist architecture completed in 1960 to accommodate 110 key workers; the new building has no social housing provision to replace any of what will be lost from this stock inside City of London boundaries. The Taylor Wimpey development is massively over scaled and completely out of keeping with world-renowned architecture it will be situated between, the Golden Lane Estate to the north and the Barbican complex to the south. Both these internationally recognised modernist icons were designed by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon.
Artists: Mark Aerial Waller, Fiona Banner, Deborah Curtis, Adam Dant, Jeremy Deller, Arnaud Desjardin, Margarita Gluzberg, Patrick Goddard, Pippa Henslowe, Stewart Home, Siu Lan Ko, Tom McCarthy, Fraser Muggeridge, Katrina Palmer, Cornelia Parker, Esther Planas, Elizabeth Price, Anjalika Sagar – The Otolith Group, Iain Sinclair, Gavin Turk, Eleanor Vonne Brown.
Local art context: The northwest corner of the City of London — including Golden Lane and Fann Street — was recently rebranded Culture Mile by this local authority. Two Banksy murals appeared at the southern end of Golden Lane on the Barbican complex on 17 September 2017; this is 2 minutes walk from Bowater House. 5 minutes walk to the north on Norman Street, Burnhill House is flying hand painted protest banners against the Finsbury redevelopment plan; these were produced by local artists Riah Niaf and Liz Rever working with St Luke’s Community Collective.
Spectres of Modernism Part 2: is a second stage of the project in which artists are invited to document the banner installation on Bowater House. Together with the banners their work will be auctioned to fund the exhibition and the Save Golden Lane Campaign. Artists included in Part 2 are: Anthony Auerbach, Zoe Brown, Justin Coombes, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Sarah Dobai, Chris Dorley-Brown, Arturo Soto Gutierrez, Eva Stenram, Nina Wakeford and Students from the MA Visual Sociology, Goldsmiths.
Post show event: Friday 2 February at Raven Row, 56 Artillery Lane, London E1 7LS, 6.30pm to 8.30pm. An evening of performances, readings and screenings to consolidate the protest at Bowater House against Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen Development. With the participation of: Mark Aerial Waller, Stewart Home, Tom McCarthy, Anna Minton, Katrina Palmer, Chris Petit, Esther Planas, Bill Parry-Davies, Iain Sinclair, Claire Louise Staunton, Nina Wakeford and Lloyd Corporation in collaboration with students from Goldsmiths Visual Sociology MA and others. The evening will include an exhibition and sale of artwork related to the protest. All proceeds from the sale will go towards the campaign.
Fraser Muggeridge Studio: (Fraser Muggeridge, Luke Hall, Jules Estèves, Rachel Treliving, Joe Nava and Elena Papassissa) is a graphic design company based in London. Throughout a wide range of formats, from artists’ books and exhibition catalogues to posters, marketing material, exhibitions and websites, the studio prioritises artists’ and writers’ content over the imposition of a signature style. http://pleasedonotbend.co.uk/
Clare Carolin: is an internationally active freelance curator from London. Previously she was Exhibition Curator at the Hayward Gallery (South Bank Centre, London), Senior Curator at Modern Art Oxford, and Deputy Director and Senior Research Tutor in the Curating Contemporary Art Programme at the Royal College of Art. She has lived in Bowater House for 20 years. Spectres of Modernism reflects her specialist interests in modern architecture and the aesthetics of protest.
For more on the local context see:
Supported by Omni: http://www.omnicolour.com/
There is a Spectres of Modernism related protest fiction project with novelists producing horror stories set in The Denizen. These are beginning to be posted anonymously on the anti-lit blog The Denizen EC1, but will eventually be collected in a published anthology Denizen of the Dead, where the writers will be named: https://denizenec1.wordpress.com/
“A spectre is haunting the cynical overdevelopment that characterises London’s buy to leave property boom, the spectre of modernism!” #savegoldenlane