London Fieldworks: SPONTANEOUS CITIES & PLAYFUL LANDSCAPES
Cremorne Gardens, Chelsea, London
Duncan Terrace Gardens, Islington, London
Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Norwich
National Trust, Clumber Park, Worksop,Nottinghamshire
Bird & Bug Boxes: Chudovo Birch Plywood
Chaise Lounge: Birch Plywood, Printed Vinyl Fabric
Metamorphic Table: Aluminium Frame, Birch Plywood, Black Oxide Steel Balustrade
London Fieldworks’ Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven is a sculptural installation drawing on the ecology and biodiversity of two sites on opposite sides of London: Duncan Terrace Gardens in the East and Cremorne Gardens in the West. The installations are constructed from several hundred bespoke bird boxes mounted in two trees of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) and reflect the forms of the surrounding architecture; a combination of Georgian town houses, and 60’s social housing around Duncan Terrace Gardens, and the World’s End Estate adjacent to Cremorne Gardens. Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven has developed out of a recent London Fieldworks project, Super Kingdom, commissioned by Stour Valley Arts for Kings Wood in Kent, where ‘show homes’ for animals were constructed based on the architecture of despot’s palaces.
The installations have been commissioned for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Islington Council by up projects as part of their Secret Garden Project ; a new programme of artists commissions and events for secret gardens, lesser known green spaces, and urban corners across London. They will be in situ for three years.
Spontaneous City has also been commissioned by the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, May 2011, across three of the city’s public gardens, lesser known green spaces and urban corners. and also in May for the Clerkenwell Design Week, as a their 2011 legacy project. The Spontaneous Cities are temporary interventions in the trees reflecting the local architecture, a metaphorical interplay between the condition of the animal and the human. As well as being open to occupation by urban birds and insects, Spontaneous City can also be read as an allegory of population crash and dwindling biodiversity.
As was the fashion amongst the aristocracy in the 18th century, and perhaps with the intention of creating a menagerie, the 4th Duke of Newcastle took possession of an exotic animal – a leopard. The animal proved unmanageable however, and was eventually further displaced to a london zoological garden for the advanccement of science and education of the masses.
London Fieldworks’ leopard, embodied in the style of fine regency furniture, rests in the branches of a large oak tree in Clumber’s pleasure gardens, serving to remind us of the lost habitat of the Newcastle Dynasty and increasingly that of its own. Members of the public are invited to experience The Leopard from the steps of a metamorphic library table.
Spontaneous City in the Cedar of Lebanon
Clumber’s missing house, displaced from its original footing in 1938, has been atomised by London Fieldworks, re-imagined and reconfigured to wrap around the high branches of a Cedar of Lebanon as an artwork open to occupation by local wildlife. Cedar of Lebanon trees appear throughout ancient history, used to build temples and palaces, and like the leopard, were a symbol of power and prosperity.