Silver Road, London
‘Land Operation’ is the second Fieldwork carried out by the New Model Army, resulting in an intervention into urban landscape. The operation was carried out in the grounds and streets surrounding the warehouse building that housed many artists’ studios, including my own, and which had recently been sold to a property developer.
The sale of the property is integral to an unprecedented, mass evacuation of artists from London, as the warehouses and factories typically housing artists’ studios are bought up for development. ‘Land Operation’ marks this historical shift.
A shared toughness and vulnerability runs through the land and the New Model Army sculptures, registering at bodily, fleshly level.
The land seems rough, dangerous and aggressive, due to being in a previously neglected area associated with the working classes and the marginalised. And yet the land is vulnerable. In being home to the marginalised, it is subject to patriarchal capitalism and, as such, must labour under its terms and suffer exploitation.
The sculptures respond to this situation compassionately but defiantly, recognising a structural correspondence, a shared vulnerability between the land and the anonymous women they represent and whose invisible labour provides the basis upon which patriarchal capitalism flourishes. The sculptures extend from the land to do what the land cannot – they rise, stand up, and generate a combative moment of resistance, positioning their bodies as standing, peaceful, but defiant protesters.
This project generated the second Artist’s Publication: Land Operation: Site, Sculpture, Marginality (2017). The project was reviewed by art critic, poet and novelist Cherry Smyth.