The result of a major commission project, Richard Wentworth‘s “Black Maria,” a timber theatrical structure set within the atrium of the Granary Building in the Saint Martins College of Art and Design, King’s Cross, is an installation that acts as a central public space during the day and a screening and discussion room during the evening and night. The structure was opened for its 4-week run on February 13th, 2013, and is available for viewing during normal hours at Central St. Martins.
A tribute to Thomas Edison’s 1893 timber building in West Orange, New Jersey, which was the world’s first cinema and film production studio, Wentworth’s structure was built in collaboration with emerging Swiss architectural practice called GRUPPE, and seeks to explore notions of space and utility. Adapting the design of Edison’s original studio, Wentworth’s Black Maria seeks to reverse the process of passive reception that the cinema engendered, and appropriates the structure to become a space for meetings, work, and open discussion.
Wentworth describes the installation as “a concourse, like that of the station,” and “a place where anything could happen.” His intention was to bring attention to the human ability to establish personalized settings within public shared spaces. He is interested in “the space between property and ownership,” and calls the structure an “unplace,” open to constant new creations from the people who temporarily inhabit it. Reclaiming the space as a site for interaction, Wentworth projects new, more human processes of use for the art object, and blurs the line between architecture and installation.
Commissioned by RELAY, a three-year art program funded by the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, a program of events will take place during selected evenings, curated by Michael Pinsky and Stéphanie Delcroix. Launched in 2012 with “IFO” by Jacques Rival, RELAY is the first dedicated art program at King’s Cross, and its initiation was inspired by the “transformation of the area.” and “the transfer from one means of transport to another.”
Richard Wentworth, Black Maria (Installation View), via King’s Cross London
“Black Maria” will remain assembled in the lobby of Saint Martins College of Art and Design until March 12th, 2013.
Exhibition Page [Kings Cross]
FT Magazine [Design & Architecture: Black Maria, Central Saint Martins]
UK Guardian [Richard Wentworth’s Black Maria]