The area around Old Street in London is awash with building contractors as the character of the area is being changed out of recognition with new developments of various different shapes, sizes and architectural styles (some better than others).
Surrounded by these developments is an oasis of calm, a water garden with ducks paddling happily through the algae alongside a terrace on which a group of people are huddled together in a protective circle, keeping strangers out, and looking downwards? Are they hiding something? Are they trying to protect themselves from something? What is so intriguing? You fight your way through and discover…nothing. They are looking at nothing, or perhaps they are looking at each other looking at nothing.
French artist Julien Tiberi’s “The Panoramic Dailies #2″ on display by portrays a group of huddled figures engrossed in something mysterious. The viewer, not wishing to be excluded, moves around the group, trying to break in and see what is taking their attention…..nothing.
The sculpture is one of Tiberi’s works exploring groups in urban gatherings which are an extension of his drawings of crowds and gatherings where individuality is lost in the group, which, in some situations can be good, but in others can be bad. Tiberi’s sculpture is an extension to his drawings of crowds and gatherings whose characters seem to congregate around a particular event, or where individuals are lost in a common act which seems to absorb their individuality into the group.
Beyond the group is a ruined building with details suggesting something from the 1920’s or 30’s. Across the pond a set of concrete stairs go no-where, the building they once served having disappeared. In many ways, it is reminiscent of photographs of cities undergoing redevelopment, whether Glasgow in the 1960’s or Shanghai today as English artist Alex Hartley (born 1963) explores contradictory attitudes towards the built environment in his architectural installations.
An interesting question to consider is what do both works say about the redevelopment going on around the Victoria Miro Gallery and Parasol Unit Foundation here in a redeveloped warehouse? Has the pace of development by a variety of different developers lost the history, identity and history of the place and the people?