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Loss of object and bondage to it: fig.2, 2015, concrete canvass, perspex, marine ply

site specific temporary object in 3 parts


The public artwork commission (£3,000), funded by Ideas Tap, Arts Council England and Bermondsey Square Community Fund, curated by Vitrine Gallery and Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre forms part of Bermondsey Square urban regeneration project.

The site has a strong history of occupation and sanctuary for women. Katherine of France retired to Bermondsey Abbey to mourn, and Elizabeth Woodville sought sanctuary there after the death of Edward IV. Close by is the Time and Talents building, an organisation founded in Victorian era by “women who deplored the waste and futility of the protected lives of the majority of young girls who were only expected to be decorative and obedient”. The Church of Mary Magdalen presented another image of women, other than that of wife and mother, as witnesses to the unseen. 

My feeling when in the square, even on market day, is of melancholy, mourning and loss, perhaps stimulated by the presence of the tombs in the church grounds or the objects of the past in the market.  The structure of the work I have made materially references the present the glass of the surrounding new architecture and the hidden melancholic mourning of the past in the image of a coffin. The coffin image can be seen in an earlier series of drawings “The Adoration: morphine assisted suicide”, currently on show in “Works on Paper by Sculptors” at the Royal Academy of Arts.

As it’s my first public sculpture it has been a journey of problem-solving, but throughout the process, the principals that are deeply embedded in my practice tend to govern decision-making. For me, a sculpture is created in relation to what is present around it and is a thing we encounter in the same space and time and become a part of a conversation with.

In making this piece for Bermondsey I want to create a work in public that allows for a feeling of intimacy. 

Read interview in Traction Magazine here

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 © 2018 Frances Richardson 

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