Monday, 17 January 2011

Header Stretcher Soldier Sailor Shiner Rowlock at Vitrine Gallery

Laura Wilson

Header Stretcher Soldier Sailor Shiner Rowlock

18 January – 12 February 2011. Daily 24-hour. Opening: Tues 18 January 6-9pm, with slideshow 7-7.30pm. FREE.

Exhibition curated by Ali MacGilp

Header Stretcher Soldier Sailor Shiner Rowlock forms the latest chapter in Laura Wilson’s continuing research into bricks around the world. Her site-specific installation engages with the architectural history of Bermondsey and the unique exhibiting conditions of Vitrine Gallery.

Built behind glass, Wilson’s human-scale brick structures respond to the bricked-up windows of many local buildings. This phenomenon, still to be seen in old houses across the country, is the result of the Window Tax introduced by William III in 1696 to raise funds for his wars in Ireland and overseas. This unpopular law, viewed as a tax on light and air, lasted for 150 years and resulted in the bricking-up of windows to avoid taxation. The exhibition title refers to the six possible orientations of a brick within a wall. Wilson uses bricks from a local factory that have been rejected because they do not meet brick specifications and cannot be sold. In this country brick sizes were standardised during the reign of George III, when bricks were taxed to fund wars in America. These historical taxes on bricks and windows resonate with contemporary revisions of the tax and benefit systems. Layers of Bermondsey’s history permeate Wilson’s installation. The foundations of a medieval abbey lie beneath the modern developments of Bermondsey Square. In the eighteenth century the area was a spa town and by the nineteenth century it was an industrial centre with tanning and leather works, and factories to process food unloaded at the wharves. Its notorious slums featured in Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist but now its warehouses are flats, restaurants, bars and museums.

Laura Wilson will present a slideshow of images from Brick Project to date as part of the opening of the show.

Laura Wilson was born in Belfast and studied at Central Saint Martins, London. Wilson makes sculpture, installations, drawings, video and performances. Selected exhibitions include; Horse of a different colour, Siobhan Davies Studios, London, 2010; Preludes and Nocturnes, Dalston New Library, 2010; Subvision Festival, Hamburg, August 2009; Brief Encounter, Wolstenholme Projects, as part of the Liverpool Biennale 2008; Scene in the Making, Nicholls & Clarke building as part of Concrete & Class, London 2008; Endgames, Truck, Canada 2007; Ename Actueel 2007: Foundation, Belgium 2007; Sixty-Seven, South London Gallery, London 2006 and Perspective 2004, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast 2004. Wilson has been awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship for 2010/11 and has recently been made a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

PERFORMANCE Mark Wayman Sat 12 February 2011, 4pm. Meet at the Vitrine Gallery, FREE.

Artist Mark Wayman will lead a walking tour around the local area. The initial coherence of the tour will disintegrate, leading to surprising new juxtapositions and intrusions.

Mark Wayman lives and works in London and is well known for his engaging live work.

Special thanks to H.G.Matthews and Colorset UVI for their support.

Press Enquiries: Ali MacGilp VITRINE GALLERY - 07940583547

VITRINE GALLERY Bermondsey Square, London SE1 3UN (tube: London Bridge)