Jyll Bradley

‘Opening the Air and other stories’, Jyll Bradley

HS Projects curated ‘Opening the Air and other stories’ by Jyll Bradley. Jyll Bradley makes site specific installations, drawings and sculpture which explore the potential of light to create new space. Her work always has a personal root and often draws upon her life-long interest in architecture and the structures we build in order to grow, be that practically or emotionally. For ‘Opening the Air and other stories’ she brings together works from distinct eras of her practice which, in different ways, draw from her adult life experience of living in London.

‘Opening the Air’ (2018) is a three-dimensional drawing made up of a geometric field of fluorescent Plexiglas discs or ‘coins’. The coins bear intricate laser-etchings derived from plans of early eighteenth-century glasshouse design and are planted on a low workaday plinth made of rough scaffold boards. As London’s urban landscape becomes ever more glassy, ‘Opening the Air’ reflects upon the original glasshouses whose currency was green growth. Activated by light and the sun’s passage, the work dramatically changes in appearance throughout the day. ‘Opening the Air’ continues Bradley’s exploration of glasshouses and their unique qualities of both structural materiality and transparency.

‘Hop Train’ (2016) is a model of an artwork proposed by Bradley for which was runner-up in a major competition for the newly developed London Bridge Station. Bradley’s work – a light-sculpture hop garden suspended within a 100m long tunnel – paid homage to London Bridge’s hop trading heritage and the once mythic train that took hundreds of thousands of Londoners down to Kent for the annual hop harvest.

‘The Bridge’ (2011) is a twin light-box installation, whose sculptural dimension is heightened by attendant white reflective panels. This image/text work was made in response to the loss of Bradley’s next-door neighbour. Here the ‘off the shelf’ photographic light box – most often used as a vehicle for commercial advertising – acts as a beacon, a concrete memory that marks the passing of time and of a person. Poignantly, the City of London skyline as seen from Rotherhithe, which Bradley once shared with her neighbour from their adjacent riverside homes – and which she photographed shortly after his death – has now changed forever. ‘The Bridge’ takes the viewer on to a visual and emotional journey with a physical dimension added through the sculptural element.

‘Opening the Air’ was commissioned by Sculpture in the City 2018.

‘Hop Train’ was a proposal commissioned by Futurecity. The model was designed for Bradley by Beep Studio.

‘Opening the Air and other stories’ was at Howick Place from June to December 2019.