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King's Cross unveils its latest outstanding outdoor art installation: Pattern Portraits by Lauren Godfrey
Lauren Godfrey, Pattern Portraits (King's Cross 2020) © John Sturrock.

LONDON.- This morning King’s Cross unveiled the latest in its bold series of outdoor art programming. ‘Pattern Portraits’ by Lauren Godfrey is made up of 120 patterned flags stretching between the iconic roofs of Coal Drops Yard to form a giant quilt in the sky. This is the largest public work to date from London-based multi-media artist Godfrey and will run until November 2020.

‘Pattern Portraits’ is a celebration of the significance and ubiquity of pattern, as well as an exploration of sustainable and regenerative textiles in art and fashion. The collaborative piece was created in isolation during lockdown and is a poignant reflection of the young people of King’s Cross.

To create the designs, Godfrey worked during lockdown with students from the BA Textiles Design course at King’s Cross’ Central Saint Martins and from STORE Store, a Coal Drops Yard-based initiative that helps local young people engage with applied creative arts.

Godfrey hosted virtual workshops with participants to create personal portraits based on their own clothing. Individuals assembled their own clothes and patterned fabrics in colliding and undulating combinations, before drawing them in the mode of still life: a meditative, mindful exercise in observation, abstraction and colour application. Godfrey then distilled the drawings into bold and arresting shapes and colours, each one representing a portrait of the individual involved.

The designs have been transformed into the large-scale flags that now create a giant quilt in the sky at Coal Drops Yard. Conceived in isolation, it is a destination exhibit, bringing people together in the age-old fashion of flag-making and reflecting the community of King’s Cross itself.

The project was designed in line with destination’s commitment to sustainability. The flags are created from Global Organic Textile Standard [GOTS]-certified Hemp Slub and 100% recyclable. The artwork is only the first life of this fabric: once the installation is decommissioned the material will be turned into a clothing collection for Spring ’21.

The clothing collection has been designed and manufactured by London-based independent fashion house VENTURA/Forman. It will be available to buy in Kiosk N1C, within Coal Drops Yard, with all proceeds donated to arts-based grants which support young people in accessing higher education.

Lauren Godfrey is the latest in a series of renowned artists unveiling works on the King’s Cross estate this summer. Her exhibition and performance credits include a solo exhibition at De La Warr Pavilion, V&A Lates and a 2019 drawing performance in the window of Selfridges. King’s Cross has championed playful, significant art across its public spaces in 2020, with works from renowned artists including Eva Rothschild, Stephan Zirwes and The Photographers’ Gallery.

Lauren Godfrey says: “This has been a special project to work on. I was keen to create something that brought a sense of joy and celebration in the return to public spaces, drawing in as many of the users of King’s Cross as possible. It was great to work remotely with local students during lockdown, using pattern as a meeting point and discussing our individual relationships to the clothes and patterns we choose to surround ourselves with. Keeping sustainability at the forefront of this project was vital: making responsible decisions about materials and their journey is increasingly being woven into the fabric of my practice. I’m incredibly excited about the onward development of the flags into clothing and the future students the proceeds from which can support too.

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