Commissioned work plays an important role both for cultural organisations and artists. We have selected two art commissions that opened to the public earlier this month and feature monumental installations set along walls. In both projects, the artists use the unique shape of the wall to transform the experience of the viewers visiting the venue.
The Curve, Barbican Centre: Walead Beshty
A Partial Disassembling of an Invention Without a Future: Helter-Skelter and Random Notes in Which the Pulleys and Cogwheels Are Lying Around at Random All Over the Workbench
London-born Walead Beshty, now based in Los Angeles, has created a new work consisting of 12,000 cyanotype prints installed along the 90-metre long wall of the Curve at the Barbican. Each one of the cyanotypes was produced using an object from the artist’s studio. The object is placed on discarded paper or cardboard that is coated with UV-sensitive material and exposed directly to sunlight. The result from this photographic process shows the silhouette of the object against a cyan blue background.
Titled after a 1979 lecture by the avant-garde filmmaker, photographer and writer Hollis Frampton, this installation is colossal. You can look at the details of each print or immerse yourself in this blue ocean of reproduced objects from the top of a platform. The exhibition is on at the Barbican until 8 February 2015.
Sadler’s Wells: Shezad Dawood
Towards the Centre, Once More
This installation was produced by British artist Shezad Dawood as a result of a commission by Sadler’s Wells, the London leading dance venue, in partnership with Tate. Here Dawood plays with the height of the wall linking the three floors of the venue by creating nine panels and putting them together like pieces of a puzzle.
Each of the nine paintings is made of vintage fabrics. Dawood is well known for his stunning textile works. He paints, sews and prints geometric shapes on fabrics from the 70s and 80s, hand-stitched by nomadic weavers in Pakistan, adding colours, layers and texture to them. In this new work, a large fuchsia-coloured circle is the centre of the piece. Looking at the Sadler’s Wells archive, Dawood has been inspired by the work of Graham Sutherland who designed the set for Ashton’s ballet ‘The Wanderer’, staged in 1941.
This installation is intelligent, delicate and full of movement and spirituality. Let’s hope that it stays there for a little longer. It can be viewed until 26 April 2015 at Sadler’s Wells.