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untitled: hoarding; 2017 Venice (2017)

Phyllida Barlow

acrylic on watercolour paper

Prints and Drawings Department, British Museum, London

untitled: hoarding; 2017 Venice (2017)

© Phyllida Barlow Photo credit: Alex Delfanne



Drawing and Watercolour


Acrylic, Watercolour paper

Physical Object Description:

untitled: hoarding; 2017 Venice. A dark-grey billboard-style hoarding featuring two adjacent white circles (holes) and standing on two legs amid fire-like swirls of red, orange, yellow and black. 2017 Acrylic on watercolour paper. Signed, dated and title on verso.




38.5 x 50.2 cm

Accession Number:



Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 2017/18

Ownership history:

Purchased from Hauser & Wirth by the Contemporary Art Society, August 2017; presented to Prints and Drawings Department, British Museum, London, 2017/18
Drawing has always been a central part of Phyllida Barlow’s practice. Throughout her career she has made often highly finished drawings to explore ideas for her sculptural work using acrylic since the 1980s. She produces these drawings before, during and after making the corresponding sculptures. Stages, fences, towers and other imposing three-dimensional structures often appear in her work.

untitled: hoarding relates to a sculpture that formed part of Folly, Phyllida Barlow’s installation work made for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2017. This drawing is the first work by Barlow to enter the British Museum’s collection, where it joins an important group of contemporary British sculptors’ drawings, including recently acquired works by Rachel Whiteread and Alison Wilding.

Created from cast concrete, her sculptural work untitled: folly; holedhoarding stood in a narrow side area outside the British Pavilion. It evoked a billboard or screen with its two holes staring like a pair of eyes or binoculars. Beneath this menacing structure lay scattered debris of various objects, also cast from concrete, suggesting, perhaps, placards discarded after a demonstration. The related drawing untitled: hoarding gives emphasis to the massive billboard structure erected on two slender legs, with its circular open holes, both seeing and unseeing. Below, fiery swirls of red, orange yellow and black marks evoke an unquenchable conflagration.

All rights reserved. Any further use will need to be cleared with the rights holder. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial copying, hiring, lending is prohibited. The collection that owns this artwork may have more information on their own website about permitted uses and image licensing options.

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