Kensington + Chelsea Art Week (KCAW) is delighted to present its sixth annual Public Art Trail. On display throughout the summer, the Art Trail will feature world-class sculpture, installations, and murals throughout the borough. Located across nine zones, the Art Trail will take up residence at some of West London’s most beautiful and iconic sites, including Duke of York Square, Sloane Street, Royal Avenue on the King’s Road, Earl’s Court, North Kensington, Holland Park, High Street Kensington, and Knightsbridge.
The final line-up for 2023 was chosen by an esteemed select committee following an Open Call, and includes Ai Weiwei, Misha Milovanovich, Baker & Borowski, Josephine Chime, Satur Chong, Lucy Oates, Malgorzata Lisiecka, Norma D Hunter and Peter Morris.
Festival Director Vestalia Chilton comments: “We have a very diverse group of artists, some established and others at the beginning of their artistic careers. Our aim for the Art Trail is to be authentic to the local context, respond to our overarching theme ‘The Art Of Change’ and allow experimentation. Unlike many Art Trails, KCAW team helps to produce many of the installations, hence the trail always incorporates new ideas that have been developed especially.”
Ai Weiwei is arguably one of the most provocative artists working today. Known for his film, art, activism, and curation Design Museum have collaborated with the artist himself to curate ‘Making Sense’ an exhibition presenting his work as a commentary on design. Outside of The Design Museum, art trail visitors can view replicas of two chairs owned by Weiwei’s father. In replacing leather with marble, Weiwei has turned a common place object into a sculpture that is less functional but more precious, which was a common practice among the rulers of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644CE).
Misha Milovanovich’s powder-coated steel sculpture titled ‘Pinga’ will be found on Kensington High Street, towards Olympia. The sculpture integrates Milovanovich’s key themes of femininity, fragmentation, change, and rejuvenation combined with a high-spirited and humorous approach. As with all her artwork, ‘Pinga’ invites its viewer into a symphonic abstraction with the movement of soft patterns, lyricism, and crescendo weaving to create its final form. Characterised by a profusion of exuberant colours and shapes, energetic visual cadences, Misha blurs boundaries—between abstraction and figuration, painting and sculpture, flatness and dimensionality, formalism, and conceptualism—demonstrating the richness of the middle ground between opposites.
Cromwell Place Courtyard will be enveloped in Malgorzata Lisiecka’s organic sculpture “Hidden Dimensions”. These tendrils of blue will erupt from the courtyard to represent the complex ecosystem beneath us, highlighting the vast layer of mycelium running invisibly below the surface and highlighting its importance on our ecosystem. Exploring the phenomena of biology, nature, as well as the social and technological aspects of our world, leads Lisiecka into the sphere of experimentation with scale, connection, and communication between the material and immaterial realms.
A vibrant mural will be located on the rear wall of Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park play area as part of a collaboration between Kensington and Chelsea Art Week and Kensington and Chelsea Council. The vision of community artist Junior Tomlin, ‘Children are our rising stars’ is the winner out of three shortlisted proposals as voted for by the public. Tomlin’s design features a glorious celebration of stars, planets and joyous colour and has been created with students of the RCA, with additional handprints contributed by local children from Art Brunel Primary Academy.
Commissioned and developed especially for Cadogan, SKIP Gallery and Graphic Rewilding co-founders Baker & Borowski will present “Graphic Rewilding Flower Clouds’ 3D immersive sculptures inspired by the flora of Chelsea. Situated across sites including Sloane Street, installations have been constructed to allow visitors to sit inside of the sculpture for a photo opportunity, appearing as though they were engulfed by a flower cloud. ‘Flower Cloud’ continues the discourse prompted by the Graphic Rewilding project, working to counterbalance the lack of green space in cities and to inspire communities to connect and empathise a little more with the natural world.
‘Detangling the MBS’ by mixed-media artist Josephine Chime will be located at One Hoopers Court in Knightsbridge as part of the Art Trail. MBS means mind, body and soul and invites viewers into healthy self-reflection to enact change. Detangling The MBS speaks of action, a constant action to become a version of yourself that can recognise life’s offerings and self-worth. The artist's practice delves into transgressing ideas of accepted beauty through the deconstruction of the body.
‘The Cloud House Wendy House’ by Peter Morris is an invitation for children to play and for adults to experience a departed moment of delight. A Wendy House is a playhouse named after the character Wendy Darling from Peter Pan, written by JM Barrie, who lived opposite Kensington Gardens. As an object for play, this little Cloud House, situated in Napoleon Garden in Holland Park, embraces the joyful spirit of Peter Pan, and celebrates the glorious pastel colours of some of Chelsea’s prettiest streets. Morris uses this sculpture as a chance to thank the neighbourhood for its powerful impact on his own creativity.
Inspired by a chance encounter with a stranger in South Kensington, Satur Chong platforms the Victorian manhole covers with her installation “Manhole Tea Set”. The tea set, symbolic of British culture, has been constructed in the same matte black texture with the same pattern as the manhole cover. By integrating the objects into the design, the manhole cover is transformed into the tea tray. In an ode to the intricacy of the craft behind the manhole cover, the quirky installation aims to capture the attention of passers-by and encourage an appreciation for an otherwise overlooked part of the city. Chong’s second manhole piece “Water/Wafer Maker” integrates another everyday object into the manhole design using humour to encourage a fresh way of perceiving elements of our everyday life.
Norma D Hunter uses her interactive installation piece ‘Penny for ‘Em’ to make a statement about how society views and sexualises breastfeeding in public spaces. Located by South Kensington station, ‘Penny for ‘Em’ will be displayed in the heart of South Kensington inside a cube located on a plinth. The artwork is a printed roll of toilet paper displaying illustrations around the theme making a powerful statement on social justice for women. Hunter’s practice is in social engagement and centres around three main themes of Women, Walking and Wellbeing (both individual and the environment).
The Art Trail is delivered in partnership with Kensington and Chelsea Festival with assistance from Kensington and Chelsea Council. Kensington and Chelsea Festival is run and funded by Kensington and Chelsea Council. Kensington + Chelsea Art Week takes place from 22 June – 2 July. The Public Art Trail continues until 31 August. Full details of the participating artists, their work and where to find it, will be available via the KCAW Digital Art Map. Details of all programming and information can be found online at www.kcaw.co.uk
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