what I'm doing, what I'm seeing, what I'm thinking

18/07/2014

Secret Society - a Last Supper

The latest event for my Secret Society Plaster Bust Collection was staged at the exquisite baroque church of St Edmund King and Martyr in the City of London
I was invited by Bo Lee Gallery to create an installation as part of the show 'Odyssey',  first staged at Bath Abbey last year and including sculpture by Damien Hirst and Tessa Farmer.
Given the setting, rather than a banquet it seemed more appropriate for the Secret Society to partake of a Last Supper - a feminist version of course.


The church, tucked away in Lombard Street, is attributed to Sir Christopher Wren,   It really is slap bang in the middle of the City and the pulsating markets of capitalism ...............

......and given the location, I thought I should make a reference to those City boys, tapping away at their computers, making frenetic calls to Wall Street and totting up their gains and losses at the end of the day - all just feet away from St Edmunds.


The idea for the installation leapt at me the first time I walked into the church - the chancel with altar behind seemed to cry out for a biblically referenced Secret Society event.


I looked at lots of Renaissance paintings of the Last Supper to identify the kind of objects artists depicted






The paintings always include a variety of flagons, flasks and chalices, baskets and bones and of course decanters of wine.  The objects in my installations are real things coated in plaster and I came across some quite biblical looking flagons at a car boot sale and the bones and a skull in sheep country on the Welsh border.

An old-style adding machine and some phones were another great car boot find - referencing those City traders.






Many of the Renaissance paintings of the Last Supper illustrate the washing of Christ's feet so I created a feminist version of this using high-heeled stilettos. The basin is one of my studio plaster-mixing bowls. 



The Last Supper was the first chance to exhibit my latest member of the Secret Society - 'Speed Freak' - she has an F1 racing car on her head.




Alongside the IT paraphernalia, the City trader's other crucial appendages are the shrink-wrapped sandwich and take-away coffee so I squeezed those in among the crabs and sheep bones.











Chalices, shoes and sheep bones - a strange and interesting juxtaposition. I enjoy finding those.


The City of London is a fascinating area and one which I hadn't often explored before this show. Of course it is extremely old being the place where trading was first established in London in the original coffee shops. There are still many old, old passageways threading their way around the buildings and connecting streets and the old pubs and restaurants are truly fantastic with polished wood, etched glass and crisp white table cloths


The juxtaposition of buildings of different periods is visually stunning - the is the Royal Exchange with the Cheese Grater behind. Illustrating I suppose how this area renews itself over and over again every few decades.


Bank of England in the background under the beady eye of the Duke of Wellington.




Statue of James Henry Greathead who pioneered a method of tunnelling which was used to construct the London Underground. I love engineers! We never think about them but they do such fantastic things and so many aspects of our lives are totally dependent on their skill and imagination.


The Cheese Grater again and part of the Lloyds building behind the ornate arch of Leadenhall Market.
A fascinating district from many points of view - the energy of the City is palpable when you surface from Bank tube -the streets are a spin of single-minded individuals, totally absorbed  in their mission to move that money around to their best advantage - kerching kerching!!! And the architecture is a fascinating backdrop to this activity which has taken place continuously for generations all within this one square mile.


Fascinating where my Secret Society takes me!  Another location in the diary coming soon is a much more stately and elegant affair in one of Lincolnshire's most renowned historic houses, Doddington Hall.
I'm going to create a Secret Society Banquet in the Great Hall of this Elizabethan mansion.


opening 2nd August


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