Sunday, 12 February 2012

Will Alsop's Box of Delights 3D Painting and the Healing Power of The Rag Market

Great to see these lit up mini 'street creatures' around The Public, the wondrous Will Alsop designed building in West Bromwich. 

A few weeks ago I had the brilliant experience of being part of the team which created Will Alsop’s Box Of Delights 3D painting at The Public in West Bromwich.
I was already very familiar with The Public as I exhibited some of my Frillip Moolog beings in the gallery there last year. I have spent hours in this exciting, bewildering, enchanting and also at times overwhelming building. 

A winter afternoon is so much more fun with some cerise lighting around the windows!

It is a place that you have to go to, to spend time in to absorb, and just to experience. It does defy description. 

The technicians hanging some of the huge Will Alsop paintings within the building.

Last year Exhibitions Manager Graham Peet first told me that Will Alsop has used the expression, 'A Box of Delights' to describe the building itself.
So it was no surprise to discover that the 3D painting that we were creating was also to be called a Box of Delights.

Creating the piece was a bit of a voyage of discovery; was I part of a team creating to Will’s direction, or was I one of several participants making a piece of community art? It was definitely a case of, “all will become clear in due course”. 
People came and went during the period of making. My son Dominic and I were two of the few who were there for all four days. On day one George Wade a senior architect working with Will Alsop at ALL Design led us, then on day two we had a smaller team and we mostly painted the large sheets of heavy weight watercolor paper. Will was there in person on days three and four and it was fantastic to see how he worked with what we had made and directed the creation of this piece of 3D art. 

It was a hive of activity in the gallery space.

Despite seeming very laid back we very definitely making a Will Alsop creation. “More chaos” was something that he kept asking for. More black fragments on the walls, and more large black sold shapes to intersperse throughout the other more colourful hanging elements. He wanted more of everything! 

Here Will explains it all to a visiting journalist. 

He was fun to be with, extremely relaxing but at the same time chivvying us on in a determined and masterful way. I must admit I did find it odd that he only added. He would ask for more but didn’t seem to say, "get rid of that". George had explained at the beginning that it was unlikely that Will would remove any of the elements but was much more likely to ask us to add more.

The projection of images and patterns from Will's sketchbook onto the 'Box of Delights' painting really added a lot of drama. 

George had explained at the beginning of the project that Will is interested in ‘pollution’ that we encounter in our visual lives and what we were making was a 3D painting which represented this ‘pollution’.

To add even more chaos and a disorienting feel to the experience there is an accompanying audio soundtrack which was created by Joss Widdowson

On the final day as we chatted I told George that I thought that Will would love the markets in Birmingham, (The Bull Ring Outdoor market, Indoor market and also the Rag Market).
I started to try to explain how this wonderful sensory overload of the markets is also incredibly calming to me. It is a place that I visit when I feel that I need to be grounded, get back to what is important and matters. It does all this and nourishes my soul. 
I source lots for my own Frillip Moolog beings from this haberdashery stall. 

The vegetable stalls are just as exciting at the close of day as when they are thronging with customers.

Get your bras here. Every size and colour!

Fancy Tights is just across the way from one of my favourite hardware stalls. I love the juxtaposition, the organised chaos!

Bernie serves chips tea and lots of entertaining chat.

So for me the Birmingham markets make the most amazing 3D 'painting' and also give me the most wonderful creative 'nourishment'. I love the; people, personalities, colour (lots of colour Will!) and textures and that is why the Birmingham Markets are my box of delights. 
Maybe I have completely missed Will’s idea of pollution?

With Will Alsop; here I am sporting my vintage Red Nose Day t-shirt with plenty of paint spatters!

The Art Of Architecture series of exhibitions at The Public continues until 20th May 2012. Details here