A new installation by London-based artist Céline Condorelli has been unveiled in Kings Cross
, one of a series of ambitious international art commissions created for the public spaces in the Kings Cross Estate.
Entitled Zanzibar, the work is in the entrance to the building R7 on Handyside Street, north of the University of the Arts London. Condorelli has taken the earliest examples of social and public seating in parks and galleries as her starting point. The work is informed by tropical modernist architecture, and is particularly influenced by the work of Lina Bo Bardi.
Zanzibar consists of three separate multi-layered seating areas surrounding greenery, two of which are in the entrance to R7 and one outside, linking the two spaces and welcoming visitors to the public space. The work functions as both public furniture and a garden, and can be used for meeting, sitting and relaxing but also to play host to readings and musical recitals.
Condorelli was inspired by the materials used in the building, and the work is made from glass reinforced concrete. The corrugated finish to the edges recalls the grey felt curtains in the space. Condorelli collaborated with the site gardener in choosing the plants, including Ficus Pumila, Alocasia and a fig tree, all of which were used by MOMA in their exhibitions in the 1950s.
Curators Tamsin Dillon and Rebecca Heald said: Were really happy with Céline Condorellis response to R7 with this three-part work. Inspired by the architect Lina Bo Bardi and named after the legendary restaurant for which she made a stage for bands to perform on, Zanzibar is designed for people to make their own performances, whether planned or impromptu; or simply for them to sit on and watch the world go by; or to read, wait or talk with friends or colleagues. We're looking forward to seeing the work adopted by the communities of Kings Cross; the students, the office workers, the cinema-goers and more. And to seeing the lush vegetation flourish!
The work is part of The Kings Cross Project, a programme of temporary and permanent art commissions for the buildings and public spaces of Kings Cross. The aim of the Kings Cross Art Project is to make Kings Cross Central a recognised destination for culture. Curated by Tamsin Dillon and Rebecca Heald, the programme supports art that responds to the site as it evolves over time and seeks to encourage innovative and creative new work that build on the important tradition of arts in Kings Cross and the wider community. Commissioned artists to date include Rana Begum, Tess Jaray and Tobias Rehberger.
Céline Condorelli (CH, IT, UK) lives and works in London; she is currently Professor at NABA (Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti) Milan, and one of the founding directors of Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK; she is the author and editor of Support Structures published by Sternberg Press (2009), and her first monograph, bau bau is published by Mousse (2017).
Recent exhibitions include Proposals for a Qualitative Society (Spinning), Stroom Den Haag, NL, Corps á Corps, IMA Brisbane, Australia (2017), Gwangju Biennale, Liverpool Biennial, Sydney Biennial, and Concrete Distractions, Kunsthalle Lissabon (2016), bau bau, HangarBicocca, Milan, IT (2015), Céline Condorelli, Chisenhale Gallery, UK, Positions, Van Abbemuseum, NL, including the publication The Company She Keeps, with Bookworks (2014). Previous exhibitions include baubau, Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig, curating Puppet Show, Eastside Projects, Gävle Konstcentrum, and Grundy Art Gallery (2014), Additionals, Project Art Centre, Dublin, Ireland, Things That Go Without Saying, Grazer Kunstverein, Austria, The Parliament, Archive of Disobedience, Castello di Rivoli, Italy (2013), Surrounded by the Uninhabitable, SALT Istanbul (2012).