Olafur Eliasson is a Danish-Icelandic artist known for his striking architectural sculptures and large-scale installation pieces. Influenced by landcapes, light and weather, he brings these elemental forces inside to create a theatrical display of refracted light, movement and contrasting shadow, even using liquids and fog to surprise and displace your conviction of spatial awareness. As intriguing as they are beautiful, his creations infuse an atmosphere of calm. Groups of people wander slowly and take time to sit on the floor around intallations, taking in the scale and trying out new perspecives. Schoolchildren lay gazing upward at the mirrored ceiling admiring the mirage so carefully built to offer a slice of another reality. We so enjoyed it we walked around twice. I felt most what a world of possibility could await if only this kind of work were more infused into our working and living spaces. And perhaps the power of shared experience in structures designed purely to ignite curiosity.
Croydon was cemented with the dystopian crown yesterday with the launch of Banksy's 'Gross Domestic Product" TM store opening on Surrey Street. Much to the delight of us locals it is totally free, and really impressive. Passers by awed at the new store in the long vacant Ponden Home space, and as the word spread, so did the curiosity. The main mood seemed to be, YES! Something good happening in Croydon - we need all the encouragement we can get!
Cool was the concensus, and all the ideas are just that, powerful symobolism hitting right at the heart of issues that run through the veins of this town, through this country even. Croydon is a centre for immigration, with an eclectic mix of awesome vibrant cultures and a police presence which is mostly well meaning, but not always well informed or welcomed. Stormsy's stab vest sits perfectly as the jewel in this curious crown. I was grateful for the rain, because a little boo was completely necessary. It's a very visceral message about all those desperate stranded asylum seekers we are sending away, and all those poor black boys getting hammered by poverty and racism. The theme captured the mood of croydon's tragic retail scene to perfection too, it's no surprise people didn't see the irony immediately, from a distance it looks shiny and new, all the promise of theWestfield that never was. I realise there's another purpose for this store, a defence of the Banksy brand against poachers, but that doesn't leesen the power of each statement, and it has certainly been put together with care in my opinion. But, you decide, go see it for yourself, and yeah, instagram it too, but please take a minute to soak in the meaning first - or you might totally miss something really powerful.
Get your butts on down there : https://goo.gl/maps/aJvx7hm53N5GP5rXA
16- 20 Church Street, Croydon, CR0 1RZ. Paid parking & accessible by tram, bus & rail too.