‘Playing Real Pretend’ by Laura Ford

HS Projects is delighted to announce the opening of ‘Playing real pretend’ at 5 Howick Place, an exhibition of recent works, not shown in London before, by Laura Ford, one of the UK’s leading contemporary artists. 

Laura Ford’s sculptures are faithful representations of fantasy with sometimes bitter sweet and menacing qualities mixed with tenderness. Ford uses humour and an acute observation of the human condition to engage with wider social and political issues. Her work is intensely crafted but playful and she has used a range of media to realise her work including drawing, painting, performance, set design and has increasingly taken on the challenge of public art alongside museum and gallery shows.

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‘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. 

‘The Humility Of Plaster’, Florian Roithmayr

HS Projects curated ’The Humility of Plaster’, an exhibition of recent work by Florian Roithmayr, following a two-year research and exhibition project exploring the materiality of collections housing plaster moulds and casts across Europe. This new body of sculptures was enabled through a partnership between the Museum of Classical Archaeology and Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, and Wysing Arts Centre, where Roithmayr has a studio. Initially shown amongst the collection of plaster casts of classical works at the Museum of Classical Archaeology and at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; at 5 Howick Place the works acquire an abstract, almost futuristic quality.

Moulding and casting are widely used techniques of modern and contemporary art making. Their use and application can be found in many other areas of production and material transformations not immediately associated with art practices, and in times before casting became an acceptable form of sculptural production in its own right.

Roithmayr combines his intimate knowledge of the material with unpredictability, as he sets up experiments, teasing out unexpected results. To a certain extent, he is giving over control in this hidden operation, deliberately allowing space for accidents in order to learn from them through these processes. His work is about generating and tracking changes in the material. The ambition in his practice is to register the consequences of one surface or material yielding another through capturing the unexpected gestures that occur in the gap between mould and cast. His work consists of materials that create each other the moment they are put together.

‘I find that there is something very rewarding and comforting about doing the same tasks over and over. Or spending time in a place with only a limited number of elements, absorbing the environment slowly. This allows for a mental space where the daily processes can become routine, and create an intimacy and immediacy that is otherwise hard to achieve.’

Alongside the exhibitions of this body of work, Roithmayr has developed an audio blog that presents interviews recorded in different plaster cast collections across Europe, drawing attention to the materials and techniques still used in the moulding workshops, often operating in parallel to the collections displaying the casts.

‘The Humility of Plaster’ was at 5 Howick Place from January to June 2019.