A temporary installation at the Great Eastern Hotel, London
On visiting the hotel I was overwhelmed by the intense masculinity of the environment, which was cold, clinical and corporate. I had hoped to see many original Victorian features; however these had been largely obliterated. I felt compelled to reintroduce the feminine, the decorative and nature into the interior. I worked with Cole & Son to produce white flocked wallpaper in 12 background colours, which were installed on the first floor balcony. The colours graduated from cool pastels through to deep blues and purples then onto hot reds and oranges. This colour scheme was echoed in painted rings on the upper balconies.
The garden design and writing of Gertrude Jekyll were integral to the installation. The floral design of the wallpaper echoed the common plants favoured by Jekyll and the graduation of colour replicated the drifts of colour used in her planting schemes. A set of five postcards accompanied the installation, each with a floral detail from the wallpaper, in colours replicating the upper balconies. Each postcard carried a quotation from Jekyll’s Colour Schemes for the Flower Garden. Isolated from their original text, the quotations became overtly sexual, hinting at out of sight activities.
Drift was part of Stay, a group exhibition developed by Commissions East, Cambridge for Escalator Visual Arts, an Arts Council England initiative.
A PDF of the Drift essay by Cherry Smyth, Curator and Poet, can be seen here: