A major architectural intervention, Richard Wilson‘s Square the Block has been installed on the northwest exterior of the LSE’s New Academic Building at the corner of Kingsway and Sardinia Street. Commissioned by LSE and curated by the Contemporary Art Society, Square the Block is a spectacular outdoor sculpture that both mimics and subtly subverts the existing façade of the building.
Square the Block evokes a building in transition, shifting our perception of the solidity of the stone from which it is constructed. The two edges of this 5-storey sculpture are copied from separate vertical slices of the existing building that when placed together make no architectural or functional sense other than completing the corner. At its base above the pavement, the sculpture appears to have been twisted and compressed as if by a giant hand or greater tectonic forces.
The work continues Richard’s singular approach to sculpture, referencing the existing architectural context and functional form in much the same way as his acclaimed piece for the Liverpool Biennale, Turning the Place Over.
Richard Wilson said: “Whenever I start a piece of work I start the process by trying to understand the particular nature of the site and the reason for making the work. For me that’s the springboard that starts me towards an idea.”
Richard Wilson has been nominated for the Turner Prize twice and was awarded the prestigious DAAD residency in Berlin 1992-03. His proposal was selected through an international competition in 2007.
LSE’s Julian Robinson, director of planning and development said: “Although we specialise in the social sciences, LSE is also serious about art and architecture. This sculpture will be an important contribution to the public art of the capital and will no doubt become part of the London scene and a site seeing must. Working with Richard has been a delight and with the help of CAS and our generous benefactors we have secured another significant piece of public art for the School.”
Paul Hobson, director of the Contemporary Art Society, said: “Richard’s sculpture for LSE is set to become a renowned public artwork for London and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with the artist on such an ambitious project. LSE’s bold approach to commissioning contemporary art is to be commended, one which we hope sets a benchmark for public sculpture in our city.”
Square the Block will be officially launched on 21 September 2009 at LSE with an evening reception in the New Academic Building.
click here to read a review of Square the Block by Edwin Heathcote, FT.com (15 September 2009)