There’s nineteen days left before the year and the year-long piece of work that is the #365ArtDrops comes to some kind of conclusion. There’s 23 parts of the piece to be painted and placed (never dropped, always carefully placed) on the street, 242 pieces out there already and 23 more to go before the piece is complete (well complete in terms of all the parts being out there, not in terms of the interaction and the finding out what happened to the part I suspect) Yesterday’s “drops” mostly happened in a yard just off Brick Lane that was already alive with paint and colour, meanwhile one piece painted on recycled cardboard and put in a found frame, was hung on Redchurch Street (there were a lot of Santa-like creatures on Redchurch Street today) and another piece hung on a gate that lead to what we later discovered to be a rather interesting gateway to a namesake. Two of the pieces placed in the Brick Lane back yard were claimed almost straight away and are now off to spend some time in San Diego, California, a third piece (painted on a found generic “stay calm” canvas print, found in a skip in Hackney and save from landfill), was grabbed almost before it was “dropped”. The piece, painted o a piece of wood found ina recycle bin outside a house on Tudor Road (Hackney) last week was left outside an old place that was once where Schwartz could be found at 33 Fournier Street, not sure who or what Schwartz was or how old that name above the gate is, it looks old but research says there was an Express Dairy sign there in the late 1940s Didn‘t notice the nameplate underneath the painting until the painting had been hung, Fournier street, even by Spitalfields standards has quite a history, Worrall’s yard it seems, is hidden behind that gate….
The Worrall House of 1720 is the quintessence of the Spitalfields nobody knows – built in a secret courtyard between Fournier St and Princelet St by Samuel Worrall, the builder responsible for many of the surrounding houses, it can only be approached through a narrow passage behind a heavily-encrusted door. When you step through this door, into the dark cobbled alley lined with ancient planks covered with paint and tar that has not been renewed in over a century, you feel – more than anywhere in Spitalfields – that you have stepped back in time. Here Samuel Worrall built a handsomely proportioned yet modest house for himself in his own builders’ yard. Just one room deep with a pedimented door and stone balls atop the gateposts, it resembles a perfect lifesize dolls’ house. Facing East and constructed of a single layer of bricks, it only receives sunlight in the morning and is not a warm building in Winter, yet there is an irresistible grace and mystery about this shadowy house of enchantment, presiding silently upon a quiet courtyard that is outside time (from the secret history of Spitalfields). What a fascinating place
“It was in the 80’s that I lived in Worrall House, Spitalfields, which exists secretly between Princelet Street and Fournier Street, entirely hidden from view. It is the oldest house in Spitalfields, nearly 300 years old and originally belonged to Samuel Worrall, the master-carpenter for Nicholas Hawksmoor who built Christchurch, Spitalfields, as well as a number of other distinctive East-London churches. Even then Spitalfields was a mysterious and unusual place to live full of interesting and distinguished neighbours, some of them artists such as Gilbert and George and Ricardo Cinalli.My recent visit to Worrall House assures me that it is still the majestic and peaceful haven as it was when I lived there for many years, whilst the surrounding streets have become part of the new creative centre of the universe and possibly the trendiest place on earth. (David Begbie – artist)
S. Schwartz, Fournier Street – Fournier Street was formerley Church Street. No. 33 was occupied in 1759 by the ’Rev. Mr. Covenant’ probably the Paul Covenant who was a minister of the Threadneedle Street, and probably of the Fournier Street, French Church; and in 1766 by Gédćon Patron, another French minister .From about 1879 into the 20th century, it was used as a hall in connection with Christ Church. No. 35 and the back rooms of No. 33 extend over the wide entry to the yard originally occupied by the Worralls Between Nos. 33 and 35 is a passageway which formerly led to Worrall’s yard and dwelling house. Of the builders employed by Wood and Michell on their estate the most prominent was Samuel Worrall, a carpenter, whose yard and dwelling house (which last still survives with a rebuilt front) lay between Princelet and Fournier Streets. (British History Online)
People is really what this year-long piece is about, interaction with people. These two delightful ladies came along after we had put the pieces out in the yard off Brick Lane yesterday, we were still there kind of “secretly” watching people and such when they started photographing the pieces and discussing them, in the end I told them to have a look on the back, and told them it says “please take”. We ended up having quite a chat about Brick Lane and art, and now those two pieces (and I think a third) are off to hang with them in San Diego. The small wooden block I painted on was originally picked up from a pile of rubbish outside the Hackney Coffee Company’s new place (along with a previous piees painted at the same time and left out sound the old Psychic TV house in Beck Road, East London) , the framed piece is in a frame found in a skip, the cardboard inside is from Amazon packaging, and these two ladies left us with smiles on our faces. Hopefully they’ll make use of the hashtag and send in photos of the pieces hanging in San Diego.
Some of you artists really aren’t that happy about the Turner Prize and the bit on the Cultivate blog, turned in to quite an amusingly vitriolic social media attack on my art and the drops and I have to say I rather like the Turner Prize and this year’s choice has to be the most relevant in years. “Well done to Assemble for winning Turner Prize they are great and represent where art is at now” added Greyson Perry. And yes, Greyson is right: it is where art really is now, as we struggle for our places to live, to make, to create, to exist to do more than merely consume…more here
Nineteen days to go…. fractured photos of yesterday’s “drops”, click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show