The third artist featured in our current exhibition – London Bridge OPEN 2 Boundaries – is Alison Cooke who is showcasing two of her artworks.
London Bridge Hotel is a former telephone exchange built in 1916 which is now surrounded by the equally stunning and evolving architecture of London Bridge. To reflect this contrast of historical and modern existing side-by-side, London Bridge Hotel’s General Manager, Julio Marques, has curated an exhibition which includes 20 different approaches to architecture using a myriad of methods including wood carving, oil paint on concrete, illustration, London’s pubs re-imagined, screen printing and painting on silk. The theme of the exhibit coincided with The London Festival of Architecture this summer.
Two blocks. 2016 (above left)
Each made of 30m of extruded clay excavated from 30m below London Bridge Station.
Block 1 high fired to melting
£900 (for pair)
Track. 2016 (above right)
Extruded rail, London Bridge Station clay. Depth 30
Alison Cooke uses clay from historical locations to make ceramic artworks that reference the past and future of the site. The resulting works are exhibited in locations relevant to the objects’ history.
Two Blocks and Track are made of clay that was excavated from 30m below London Bridge Station in the construction of foundations for the Thameslink re-development in 2016. Two Blocks makes reference to the moment the piling machine broke ground and two historic fires on the site from which a number of melted artefacts have been found.
Track takes a rail profile that distorts into something less recognisable, made whilst the untangling of the tracks at London Bridge was taking place. At 30 metres below ground, this clay was laid down approximately 54 million years ago, the early Eocene, a time when London and Kent were under a warm shallow sea and the mountains of Wales had yet to be formed.
The clay’s excavation site was replaced by foundations which hold up London Bridge stations Platform 6, so connecting commuters to the ancient bed of clay which underpins the entire city. London Bridge Clay Project Two Blocks and Track are part of the London Bridge Clay Project. In 2016 Cooke asked Network Rail for spoil being excavated below the station in the Thameslink redevelopment. She then distributed the 360kg of clay amongst members of the ceramics collective, the Associated Clay Workers Union (ACWU) to make ceramic works inspired by the history and future to the site.
The results were exhibited in Southwark Cathedral next to the London Bridge redevelopment site.
London Bridge OPEN 2 – Over 100 artists submitted work for consideration for London Bridge OPEN 2 with 17 chosen for this second exhibit. OPEN 2 artworks are displayed throughout the public areas of the hotel and its adjoining Quarter Bar & Lounge, allowing potential buyers the opportunity to see an artwork in an environment more akin to a contemporary home. All OPEN art works can be purchased and the exhibition runs until December 2019.
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