The second edition of the Harewood Biennial
welcomes 16 exhibitors to show their work throughout the State Floor and Grounds of Harewood House, an accredited museum and educational charitable Trust located just outside of Leeds city centre. Curated by Hugo Macdonald, this years Biennial, Radical Acts, explores how craft can be a radical act.
The meaning of radical is derived from the Latin word root and in Radical Acts craft is presented as a bridge between our roots and future. The exhibitors address important conversations around restoration and repair, regeneration and wellbeing. Many practitioners explore Harewoods own roots and its future, as the Trust continues to re-imagine what makes a historic house and its landscape relevant in the 21st century.
Each participant tackles an issue of modern life: human connection, social justice and equality, climate change and conservation, material potential and natural resources, land use and landfill.
The exhibitors taking part in the Harewood Biennial 2022 are:
Mac Collins, Sebastian Cox, Eunhye Ko, Fernando Laposse, Michael Marriott, Bobby Mills, Francisca Onumah, Celia Pym, Bisila Noha and Robin Wood; as well as ACAD x Smile Plastics, Community Clothing, Good Foundations International, Ilse Crawford x Nanimarquina, Jones Neville x Margent Farm and Retrouvius.
Mac Collins presents a site-specific furniture commission in the Cinnamon Drawing Room: a domino set, games table and stools, inspired by the Caribbean communitys domino-playing culture. The furniture is deliberately sturdy and more informal in comparison to the slim, upright profiles of the Chippendale furniture elsewhere. The piece is set under a portrait of Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood, by Sir Joshua Reynolds and a key member of the Lascelles family, whose wealth was garnered through the Transatlantic slave trade and used to build the House. Mac describes their presence in this room, lined with portraits of the Lascelles family, as a combined act of material and socio-cultural representation. Harewood commission
In addition, a specially-commissioned version of Mac Collins Iklwa chair is shown. Titled Thaneray (Tenroy), he invites audiences to sit down, pause, reflect on the environment the chair is in and to consider how history informs British society today.
Sebastian Cox has created a timber viewing platform in amongst the woodland of Harewood, using materials from the estate and offering different view points of the grounds. His work explores the process of woodland management and how cutting down trees can in fact assist in encouraging greater biodiversity. Harewood commission
Celia Pym has undertaken a residency at Harewood, setting up a mending desk for a week where she asked Harewoods collections care teams and wider staff to bring a garment for her to repair, in exchange for a story of how these individuals care, repair and look after Harewood, and what the item meant to them. These 16 items are exhibited in the Old Library with their stories behind them, exploring the radical act of care and repair. Harewood commission
Ceramicist Bisila Noha presents a vessel from her ongoing Unnamed Women of Clay project, using as a medium to bring forgotten female African potters into the spotlight and challenge our preconceived ideas of ceramic art. Bisilias work seeks to overturn the largely male, Western-centric lens through which we view and value art and craft.
Retrouvius are responding to the dining table from the State Dining Room. They have replaced the eight leaves from the table with wooden panels, salvaged from the Patent Office in Chancery Lane. The original shelving from which the leaves have been made, was designed and produced in the 1880s by Arthur Lambert.
Fernando Laposse has created a vertical totem from his corn husk marquetry panels, in the Gallery. The playful, colourful marquetry sits in contrast to the more formal geometric Chippendale marquetry, and tells the agricultural, social and environmental story of Fernandos ongoing Totomoxtle project.
Michael Marriott has constructed a kiosk shack from two fridge-freezers and other discarded and found materials and domestic items in the Spanish Library, to house and display a series of his characterful, functional designs within. Named Kiosk÷, after the Spanish beach shacks, the intervention is intended to promote the art of resourcefulness and designing for purpose. Harewood commission
A 200-year-old English oak tree fell during a storm two years ago next to the church in Harewoods Grounds. Over the last 18 months, woodworker Bobby Mills has been using the material to create a series of hand-turned vessels. These will be displayed in Harewoods Bakehouse Studio near the House. Harewood commission
Francisca Onumah works with copper and silver, leaving the traces of her hands and tools on her sculptures to create organic structures with freeform mark-making on their surfaces. In doing so, she challenges perceptions and expectations of what makes a metal precious. For the Biennial she will be presenting four oxidised copper and silver sculptures that will sit in front of the Chippendale crafted State Bed.
For the Biennial, Eunhye Ko distorts our perception of the materials we value by replacing the plastic in household electronics with natural materials and traditional crafts. Through this, she offers a poetic solution to our global waste crisis.
Robin Wood displays The Wood School. This is a two-part contribution, showcasing 85 wooden spoons donated by former pupils of Robins to highlight the importance of transferring knowledge from mind to hand. The second is a series of workshops over the duration of the Biennial, based around specific native tree and wood species that feature around the Lakeside walk.
ACAD x Smile Plastics
The Welsh company recycles household plastic waste into materials for use in interior environments. They have worked with Parisian design studio ACAD to develop a series of self-assembly, modular seating, which will snake its way around the North Lawn of Harewood. The work will be unveiled in Summer 2022.
Community Clothing presents a series of banners, inspired by protest banners, explaining the premise and mission of the initiative: to localise the production, manufacturing and distribution of clothes at an affordable price point. Harewood commission
Good Foundations International
Good Foundations International work in communities with no clean drinking water. They find clay sources, build kilns and teach members of the community how to fire ceramic water filters that clean 99% bacteria from water, using an ancient filtration technique. This is craft in action as a vital tool for human survival.
Ilse Crawford x Nanimarquina
For the Biennial, Ilse Crawford x Nanimarquinas Wellbeing Collection of textiles will be displayed in the Yellow Drawing Room. The Wellbeing Collection challenges our understanding of craft production, putting the health and wellbeing of the maker in front of the user.
Jones Neville x Margent Farm
Jones Neville and Margent Farm are collaborating to design a sheltered bench and hemp planter in the Walled Garden, made entirely from hemp materials, grown at Margents Cambridge farm.
Margent are developing a series of material applications using hemp as a far healthier, regenerative alternative to materials currently used in building construction and interior design. The shelter, built by Harewoods conservation officer Roger Stark, will open in late Spring. Harewood commission