Proposal for New Covent Garden Market Vitrine

I have submitted a proposal for an installation to celebrate the produce and traders of London’s New Covent Garden Fruit and Flower night market in the Nine Elms Battersea.

Image supporting Proposal

Vitrine artists impression

Ideas in development

Vitrine sketches

vitrine overview

Whilst pondering how to approach this commission in lockdown, I kept coming back to the term ’fresh every day’ and felt that the artwork should celebrate the daily efforts and hard work of all the farmers and traders connected with the site. Given that there are so many people involved in the market, I chose to focus on the wonders of growing and gathering that goes on behind the scenes.

My concept for the New Covent Garden Vitrine commission is to create a mural that combines the sensory pleasures that we experience when looking at the market’s fresh produce with the elevated feelings that we get when looking at art.

On visiting the Nine Elms site, I imagine a larger than life window that reveals enticing hints and beautiful colours of the forms beyond. The 20 metre long vitrine will be divided into 4 window panels, celebrating each of the 4 categories: Fruit, Flowers, Vegetables and Plants. Passers-by, cyclists and motorists, will all experience the work from different perspectives. Walkers on the window side of the street will at first glance see dancing squares of bright colours, cyclists will see flashes of pattern taking shape and motorists and walkers on the other side of the street will see the full iconic images. Local residents, customers and traders will enjoy the work as one of the neighbourhood’s vibrant attractions.

Each panel will be based on a carefully taken close up photograph of produce from the market. It will then be separated out into squares, laid out on a grid and each square or ‘tile’ hand coloured to bring out its particular hue. This process will involve a combination of photography, digital editing, projection and watercolour overlays to create the depth, colour and tone of a painting. The 4 intricate hand painted designs will then be scanned for printing on a much larger scale. Each square of colour when scaled up will be 10cm x 10cm, the size of a household tile giving it a familiar feel and yet cathedral or forest like when pieced together.

Conceptually, I am linking the decorative traditions of mosaic, stained glass windows, tiling and painting with contemporary computer aided design on an architectural scale. The visual rendering in tiles is also intended to reference the area’s industrial past and herald the drive towards creating new spaces for the arts, cultural enterprise and exchange in and around Nine Elms.

The combinations of colour, pattern, image and composition are designed to create an uplifting and celebratory tribute to the vital goods and services that the market provides to millions of Londoners in our capital city every day. It will boldly display our appreciation and love of healthy pleasures which we so rely upon now more than ever.

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