was a highly visible transformation of a typical suburban, early twentieth-century
detached house into a typical London suburb into an eye-catching and highly
idiosyncratic, comic book-style Pop Art recreation of itself. For four weeks
in summer 2005 the house sported a temporary printed façade of exaggerated
red cartoon-like bricks. Somehow, it seemed, a child-like fantasy of a make-believe
toy house had wandered into reality.
RENOVATION was the creation of the British artist, Richard Woods. This ambitious project took its place as the latest in his extraordinary series of captivating temporary makeovers. As this account of the commission describes, Woods is fascinated by the surfaces that people in their everyday lives choose to surround themselves with.
Our houses, their decoration and the way they have been altered to suit the tastes and aspirations of every generation of owners, speak volumes about the way we see ourselves, express our hopes and recapture cherished memories. The suburbs are closely associated – in drama and literature as well as in fact – with that constant change through renovation.
was at home in Wimbledon. Not far from the house in Merton Hall Road had
been the riverside printing works where fabrics and wallpapers in William
Morris’s designs for Liberty’s were made from their Victorian
heyday until quite recently. The location also offered passers-by a way
to look at and ‘live with’ an artwork.
The display was rated among the top five shows in London in August 2005 by the Guardian and the Independent newspapers; in the Guardian it was number one for two weeks.
Commissioned by Art Works in Wimbledon and supported by Arts Council England. Installation and artist’s assistants supported by The Elephant Trust. Presentation supported by the Kirsgillow Fund, Marcus Beale Architects Ltd, Robert Holmes & Company, Sparks, Tot Taylor, Traders Antiques and special donations. Hosted by Wimbledon School of Art. Education partner Wimbledon College.
Publication supported by Arts Council England, The Henry Moore Foundation, the Kirsgillow Fund, Galleria S.A.L.E.S., Rome, and special donations. Published by Art Works in Wimbledon and the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford in association with Lund Humphries
‘You actually feel separated from the world you know and love, even though you’re so aware that only the thinnest skin is keeping it at bay. The experience is definitely psychedelic: you are within the art and the art is affecting everything that happens.'
Gavin Wade in Tank, vol.3, no.8 (2003)
Richard Woods (b. Cheshire, 1966) has been re-branding objects and environ-ments into an alternative reality since the late 1990s. Projects at Tabley House, near Chester, and Modern Art, the London dealer’s gallery (both 2000), Jeffrey Deitch Projects, New York (2002), the Venice Biennale and the Comme des Garçons store in Osaka (2003), and the projects in Woodstock, Miami, Hoxton and Oxford described in this report have been important staging posts in his development of floor and wall (interior and outside) pieces.
Group shows have included At One Remove (Henry Moore Institute, Leeds) and Here to Stay (Arts Council Collection). His first one-person exhibition took place in Winchester in 1988, followed by Cargo at Arched Space, London, in 1990. He was among nine artists selected for the Barclays Young Artist Award in 1991 (with an exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, London). Solo shows have taken place in London, New York, Athens, Rome, Paris, Berlin and Turin since 1994.
His work has a distinct, individual quality best compared with a ‘logo’, a notion that reflects acutely on the artist’s rather interrogative purpose. He also admits a narrative strain and a degree of pathos that are unusual elements still in contemporary sculpture.
Woods completed his BA in fine art at Winchester School of Art in 1988, and his MA at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London in 1990. He lives and works in London.
RENOVATION Free Events - the Record
The House Next Door
|RENOVATION and Schools|
Throughout the Christmas term 2005, A level art students at Merton’s largest state secondary school developed ideas about form, surface and the sense of place with reference to RENOVATION. The four sessions comprised a guided visit to the installation and Wimbledon School of Art’s MA exhibition; a visit to Woods’ London studio, then to Tate Modern and the Jan de Cock and Rachel Whiteread installations; a practical workshop with artist Stephen Nelson; and a ‘crit’ of the term’s work and an opportunity for students to talk their ideas through with Richard Woods
|RENOVATION - the Book|
|Marco Livingstone and
Published by Lund Humphries in association with the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford and Art Works in Wimbledon
The book records the two very different buildings he transformed to extraordinarily memorable effect with a red and white, comic-book brick design in 2005 in Oxford and Wimbledon. It is also the first monograph on Woods’s remarkable work. Over the past five years, he has designed a spectacular store interior for Comme des Garçons in Osaka, the mock Tudor refit of a private family home in upstate New York, and resurfaced with large crazy paving a cloistered courtyard for the 50th International Venice Biennale of Art.
The publication has been supported by Arts Council England, The Henry Moore Foundation, Galleria S.A.L.E.S. and the Kirsgillow Fund
ISBN 978-0-9538525-5-0 Hardback £30.00 192 pages 150 in colour
RENOVATION and art in the public realm
RENOVATION was nominated for inclusion on the Axis.web site that highlights important interventions by artists in the public realm. You can read about Axis and this project on http://www.axisweb.org/
|All Images of RENOVATION © Richard Woods|
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