Paddington Square, London’s new quarter for work, retail and dining at the heart of Paddington’s regeneration, has announced a major programme of public art commissions, comprising first London permanent public works by internationally renowned artists Ugo Rondinone, Pae White and Catherine Yass. The artworks will be unveiled with the full opening of Paddington Square in 2022.
A site-specific 5-metre bronze sculpture by Ugo Rondinone will provide a bold new focal point for the millions of visitors travelling between Praed Street and Paddington station each year. Pae White will suspend a large and experiential installation that caps four levels of shops and restaurants both above and below ground, opening out onto a new public piazza and framing the entrance to the new landmark 14 storey workspace designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop.
Catherine Yass will take over a 24-metre-long wall of the neighbouring St Mary’s Hospital to deliver a large-scale collaborative photographic installation featuring and celebrating NHS workers.
Partnering with The Showroom, a public contemporary art space based nearby Paddington Square, the programme will see the creation of a new series of collaborative murals at Tanner Lane, situated between Paddington Square and St Mary’s Hospital. The commissioned murals will each be in-situ for one year at a time, providing a rotational site for temporary public artworks, each responding to the overarching theme of ‘care’. Artist Kathrin Böhm will launch the series in 2022, followed by Rhea Dillon in 2023 and Long Distance Press (Adam Shield and Thomas Whittle) in 2024. Created through collaborative processes, the mural cycle creates a new context for The Showroom’s programme in Paddington, allowing a wide audience of visitors, workers and local residents to enjoy and engage with contemporary art practice.
The public art programme at Paddington Square has been led by developer Sellar and London-based curatorial agency Lacuna, with the aim of delivering a diverse and dynamic arts programme for the public and community to enjoy, engaging with the best local, UK and international talent. As a major public gateway to London, Paddington Square will provide locals and visitors with a unique cultural experience, bringing internationally-renowned and emerging UK-based artists, working across different disciplines, to the streets of the capital to be enjoyed as part of a daily commute or as a weekend visit.
Stella Ioannou (Director) & Jade Niklai (Associate Curator), Lacuna, said:
“The Paddington Square public art programme acts as a conversation starter: to demonstrate and inspire the power, beauty, potential and responsibility of curating art in the public realm. Our curatorial approach takes its cues from the vision of Sellar, together with Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s architectural ambition to bring one of London’s biggest transport gateways to life through public spaces and contemporary art. Lacuna conducted extensive research into the neighbourhood, working with local communities and engaging with a diverse set of stakeholders, greatly enriching our curatorial approach and the development of these landmark commissions with leading international artists. While lockdown presented us with new challenges, it also allowed us to develop novel methods for critical engagement with the evolving cultural conversation, which visitors will see borne out in the final works as they are unveiled in 2022.”
A jury of leading experts were brought in to support the selection of the artists involved including Lucy Zacaria, Head of Arts at Imperial Charity Trust; Eleanor Pinfield, Head of Art on Underground; Shumi Bose, Curator at RIBA and Senior Lecturer in Architecture, Central Saint Martins; Andrea Schlieker, Head of Collections, Tate Britain; Edwin Heathcote, Architecture & Design Critic at the Financial Times; Elvira Dyangani Ose, Artistic Director of Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) and former Director of The Showroom; and Joost Moolhuijzen, Project Architect and Director, Renzo Piano Building Workshop.
Each of the artist commissions will be site-specific to Paddington Square, and sit at four locations on and around the Renzo Piano-designed building, directly adjacent to Paddington Station. The pieces will enliven the building itself, nearby spaces and a new large-scale public square, providing focal points both for those who work at Paddington Square and the many millions of visitors who will pass through annually.
The Paddington Square art programme will also mark the inauguration of an open-air Paddington Art Walk, which will incorporate other public artworks in the neighbourhood. Additional major new works planned for Paddington include Spencer Finch’s A Cloud Index, housed within the 120-metre long roof canopy of the new Crossrail entrance to Paddington Station, due to open in the first half of 2022.
Paddington Square appointed artists:
Ugo Rondinone: Swiss-born and New York-based, Ugo Rondinone is a mixed-media artist. His scope of work ranges across painting, sculpture, drawing, photography and video. He is widely known for his large-scale land art sculpture, particularly Seven Magic Mountains – seven totems consisting of large stones, stacked 32 feet high and painted in fluorescent colours. His sculpture Liverpool Mountain is currently on show outside Tate Liverpool until 2023. Ugo is also a poet, collector and curator.
Pae White: Pae White is an American multimedia artist, who explores different material forms to create a diverse body of work that focuses on the ephemeral nature of everyday life. Her work blurs the boundaries between fine and applied arts, architecture and design. Met with widespread critical acclaim throughout her career, her work has been included in the 2009 Venice Biennale, the 2010 Whitney Biennial and the 2017 National Gallery of Victoria Triennial. Major public works on permanent display include pieces at LAX Airport (Los Angeles) in 2015 and Brandenburg Airport (Berlin) in 2012.
Catherine Yass: Nominated for the Turner Prize in 2002, London-based artist Catherine Yass is widely recognised for her distinctive photographic and film-based work, and particularly her wall-mounted light boxes. Catherine’s art features a range of subjects, from portraits to vacant urban spaces, performances to monuments. Her work at Paddington Square will continue her exploration between public buildings and their occupants, as well as the documentation of human movement in time and space. Important solo exhibitions include Lighthouse at Galerie Lelong, New York and a mid-career retrospective at De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea. Her work is in collections around the world including Tate, Arts Council England and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
The Showroom: Launching at Tanner Lane in 2022, Kathrin Böhm responds to the theme of care by asking, ‘why do we care about art?’. Böhm explored individual responses to this question through collaborative poster-making workshops throughout July-October 2021. The first mural at Tanner Lane will be designed by Böhm to project this chorus of voices, through a process of assimilating and responding to the assemblage of statements created by each workshop contributor. Commissions by Rhea Dillon and Long Distance Press (Adam Shield and Thomas Whittle) will follow, each collaborating with others to create new works reflecting the theme. Rhea Dillon is an artist who examines and abstracts her intrigue of the ‘rules of representation’ as a device to undermine contemporary Western culture, and what constitutes as the ontology of Blackness versus the ontic. Long Distance Press acts as a publishing house, artist project, zine factory, exhibition space, commissioning body and IMAGE DRUM, between London and Edinburgh. Making print-based artworks involving analogue and digital printing methods, they will respond to the unique history of Tanner Lane, the site of a former Royal Mail sorting office designed by Sir Henry Tanner. The link to postal communication as a mode of connectivity will create a key entry point for Long Distance Press, exploring translations from analogue to digital print production; and from intimate scales to the architectural.
Paddington Square is the cornerstone of a new Paddington. Conceived by developer Sellar, a light-filled crystalline building designed by award-winning architect practice Renzo Piano Building Workshop will sit at the centre of the new development. Paddington Square will present 14 floors of bright, beautifully designed and flexible workspace with a focus on wellbeing, four floors of shopping, bars, restaurants and cafes, a new Bakerloo Line entrance for the London Underground, west London’s highest rooftop dining experience and a 1.35-acre public square, providing a striking new arrival experience for Paddington Station.