UCL News


Artists in residence: students celebrate 200 years of Heal's

19 January 2010

Press release Links:

Slade ucl.ac.uk/slade/index.php" target="_self">UCL Slade School of Fine Art
  • Heal's
  • 18 students from the UCL Slade School of Fine Art are to take up residence in the windows of Heal's flagship Tottenham Court Road furniture store to create a unique piece of retail theatre.

    Heal's has been at the forefront of modern design for 200 years and is working with UCL as part of its bicentenary celebrations. From 1-7 February 2010 this inspirational design project will see interactive art installations being created day and night in Heal's 27-metre showcase window.

    The 18 students from the UCL Slade School of Fine art are:

    • Alex Springer, building a vintage pinhole camera to take 200 portraits which will be collated and displayed
    • Cansu Aladay, creating the installation 'Woven Memories' using coloured yarn and Heal's oak photo frames
    • Diana Taylor, referencing cartoons and Disney characters alongside archive Heal's patterns and prints to create a large scale mural in the Meal's Peyton & Byrne restaurant 
    • Gavin Weber, screen printing 200 prints on a large 1830s wood block printer where wood blocks will be carved, printed and displayed
    • Haruka Ono, collecting customer receipts which will be screen printed in fluorescent colours and printed as large scale keepsake posters.
    • Helga Helgason, creating an installation by carving paper as if it were wood
    • Jayne Wilton, creating the installation 'Catching Breath' where 200 breaths will be caught as copper plate etchings, acid washed and displayed as a large-scale collage
    • Jeremy Hutchinson, creating a propaganda Anglo-modernist office installation within the windows using decals and posters
    • John Shelvin, producing an installation of two clocks, one analogue set at the time 18.10 and one digital set at the time 20.10
    • Julia Vogl, creating the installation '200 Units For 200 Years' comprising 200 small wooden shapes and tessellating decals based on archive Heal's prints
    • Kitty Clark, creating a series of silk screen prints of celebratory bunting, taking inspiration from and colour matched to archive Festival of Britain Heal's posters
    • Kristen Schaffer, draping an iconic Louis 4 Poster bed by John Reeves with a sheet of dried acrylic paint to create a large scale three-dimensional installation
    • Nadine Mahony, a fine artist painting on photographs to create a series based on architectural details of the Heal's building using raw materials and mixing pigments on site
    • Nina Rodin, producing a multi-layered abstract forest of trees painting on the glass of the windows in a continual marathon seven-day session
    • Peter Sant, producing a projection film of the Heal's store at night as if the building were a film set waiting for actors to arrive
    • Rebecca James, creating a large painting of mixed media inspired by the Heal's building
    • Shan Hur, a sculptor creating a faux column inside the store window and excavating part of it to reveal hidden Heal's products
    • William Saunders, taking macro-imagery of the textures of Heal's furniture and accessories to create a film to be projected within the windows.

    Sir Ambrose Heal had a keen interest in fine art and attended classes at the UCL Slade School of Fine Art.

    Up until the 1980s Heal's held an exhibition space, the Mansard Gallery, on the fifth floor of the Tottenham Court Road store which was opened in 1919 by Ambrose Heal. It was the White Cube gallery of its day, the first place to exhibit Modigliani in the UK, where Aldous Huxley first met Virginia Woolf and where the first room sets were presented by Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer and Maxwell Fry.

    "It is no surprise that Ambrose - always interested in the overlap between art, design and commerce - should set up a galley at Heal's to show the best and, in many cases, most innovative art," says John Aiken, Director of the UCL Slade School of Fine Art.

    Although the gallery no longer exists, Heal's core values and links with the art and design community are just as fundamentally important as ever. 'Artists In Residence' reflects Heal's rich design heritage, whilst heralding the next chapter of Heal's history.

    The art produced over the course of the seven days will be available to purchase from the Heal's virtual Mansard Gallery, which will launch on the Heal's website to coincide with the project, with prices starting at £15.

    To find out more, follow the links at the top of this item.

    Image: The UCL Slade School of Fine Art

    Media contact: Dave Weston

    UCL context

    The UCL Slade School of Fine Art is concerned with contemporary art and the practice, history and theories that inform it. It approaches the study and practice of art in an enquiring, investigative, experimental and research-minded way. Slade facilities and infrastructure for research support the discourse around painting, sculpture and fine art media. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, 70% of the department's research activity was recognised as being in the top two categories of 4* ('world leading') or 3* ('internationally excellent'). This result confirms that the Slade is one of England's leading university departments for research in Fine Art.

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