The sight of the physical devastation to London’s east end, caused by Second World War bombing raids, is one of Phyllida Barlow’s earliest childhood memories. The destruction and repair of the urban environment has since become one of her principle inspirations.
This presentation of her sculptures in our Welcome Area leads our reopening following the imposed lockdown due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. We feel the artworks are symbolic of the dismantling of our contemporary society and the repair needed to our collective mental health in the face of this adversity.
For more than 50 years, Phyllida has taken inspiration from her surroundings to create imposing installations that can be at once menacing and playful. She creates anti-monumental sculptures from inexpensive, low-grade materials such as cardboard, fabric, plywood, polystyrene, scrim and cement; from the industrial to the domestic, and mixes them together. She takes the ordinary and transforms it into the extraordinary, composing what she describes as ‘a kind of still life’.
The artworks in this presentation are drawn from exhibitions made for The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh in 2015, and the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2017. They have been brought together to coincide with ‘Tell me the story of all these things’, an exhibition curated by ‘radical women’ of Colchester.