An award-winning London Docklands artist Rod Kitson is exhibiting a life-size replica of his Victorian attic studio made from 190 square-foot of oil paintings, inside a vacant shop being used as a pop-up gallery.
Each of the 190 individual paintings reproduces one square-foot as it appeared when he painted it, and will be sold relative to the construction costs of a square foot of the property in Southwark, blurring the boundaries between art and architecture.
“There’s no reason why artwork shouldn’t be costed up in the same way as architecture or construction,” says Rod Kitson, 37. “I painted one each day for 190 consecutive days, imagining myself working like a builder. Each one is a snapshot of the situation I found myself in at that moment.”
It is Rod’s first solo show. The installation’s title and theme, ‘Machines for Living In’ is inspired from architect philosopher Le Corbusier’s dictum, “A house is a machine for living in.”
The square-foot oil paintings include a 35-piece reproduction of a Persian rug, a house plant, an Apple charger, and part of a female visitor, evoking the atmosphere of his live-in work-space. Each ‘tile’ took an average of four hours to paint.
“They were never contrived to make it a perfect jigsaw,” he adds. “There is movement — it’s an expression of time.”
The show, in a former Thomas Cook at Surrey Quays shopping centre, also has an interactive element. The artist is inviting visitors to create their own square-foot paintings to be part of the exhibition and available for purchase at the same price as his work.
Rod is the 2017 winner of the Painting Open for his oil paintings ‘Two Brothers from Camberwell’, in the competition run by Second Floor Studio & Arts, part of Anthology Deptford Foundry.
Citing influences including David Hockney, Keith Haring and Jeff Koons, the exhibition puts emphasis on accessibility, inviting viewers to explore the experience of inhabiting a space and a process.
Rod is already working on a second exhibition of square-foot paintings, consisting of some 300 portraits of his friends, artists and London characters, due to open next year.
Machines for Living In. July 18th to 31st, 11am–7pm daily. (11–3pm, July 22/23) 47 Upper Mall, Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, SE16 7LL rodkitson.art