H&F Presents new art ‘Beacon’ installation


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Artist Nicolas K Feldmeyer, creator of ‘Beacon’, the new public art installation at Hammersmith Town Hall

Hammersmith & Fulham Council – in partnership with the Hammersmith Business Improvement District – has unveiled their second installation of public art at the town hall.

Entitled ‘Beacon’ the new public installation was created by artist Nicolas K Feldmeyer and is on show in the atrium of the town hall extension. It’s made from 396 lengths of string – which laid end-to-end would span four kilometres.

“We are determined to make H&F the most progressive borough for the arts in London,” said Cllr Andrew Jones, H&F Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration.

“And while H&F is already a cultural leader with institutions such as the Bush Hall and Fulham Palace on our doorstep, we hope our public art installations bring a bold new dimension to Hammersmith.”

Patricia Bench, director of the Hammersmith Business Improvement District, said: “We are proud to sponsor the Beacon in continued support of the council’s art strategy. Culture is a key part of our mission to make Hammermsmith a more attractive place to live and work.”

The artist

Installed in the glass-enclosed atrium, Beacon features a lit-up pyramid of hundreds of strings. It’s a site-specific piece created by Saatchi-prize winning artist Nicolas K Feldmeyer.

Born in Switzerland in 1980, Nicolas has lived in London for the past nine years. He is a trained artist and architect, attending the Slade School of Fine Art, the San Francisco Art Institute, and ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Zurich.

He is best known for his piece Untitled (Woven Portico), huge swathes of PVC meshing between the neoclassical columns of the iconic University College of London building in Gower Street. Nicolas has also participated in a variety of group shows, at the Photographer's Gallery in London and Flowers gallery in New York, and was the subject of a solo show at Maddox Arts in 2015.

‘Beacon’ is on show in the atrium of the town hall extension. It’s made from 396 lengths of string – which laid end-to-end would span four kilometres

The process

“The first time I came to the town hall I was impressed by the heavy waffle ceiling and the rough concrete,” Nicolas said. “I liked the empty glass atrium and that you can see down to it from the first floor offices.

“But those characteristics also made it a challenge to find the right form as the dimensions are quite daunting,” he added. “The atrium space is very high and not very accessible. The glass walls on all sides provide no background and are very reflective, which makes it hard for the installation to have a strong presence.

“I finally settled on a pyramid, with the whole floor of the atrium as its base, reaching the first floor of the Town Hall at its summit, breaking through the heavy concrete ceiling and enclosing the column.”

Working with blueprints of the building, scale models and 3-D computer software – as well as running strings in his garden – Nicolas and specialist fabricators Art&Assembly worked out the dimensions of the artwork, as well as the number, angle and the thickness of the strings. The title ‘Beacon’ suggests a sense of a signal or an anchor, which provides light into the night, Nicolas explained.

The dance

The Semaphore Ballet Company will be performing a specially choreographed performance around the installation on Saturday (10 February) at 7pm.

The not-for-profit company is promising to use movement to ‘explore its use of light and space’. The event is free.

H&F Presents…

The ‘H&F Presents…’ installations aim to transform the landscape of the borough through a series of temporary site-specific exhibitions.

The inaugural work was from acclaimed artist, poet and cultural agitator Robert Montgomery.

The new installation is the second in an ambitious quarterly programme of exhibitions in the borough. But the series will not be confined to Hammersmith Town Hall with plans to expand to different corners of the borough with a variety of different artists and methods.

It comes after H&F Council unveiled its new arts strategy last year after a series of consultations and public meetings with residents and industry experts.

The Connected Borough: An arts strategy for H&F (pdf)

It sets out the council’s approach for achieving these aims, grouped into three themes: destination, creation and inclusion.

The council is also committed to work with landowners and developers to provide access to affordable studio space, as well as create an artist-in-residence scheme for the borough if it can attract the funding.

To share your views on the council’s arts strategy or to get involved with the arts locally, email: arts@lbhf.gov.uk.

Each year, the Hammersmith Business Improvement District aims to create a more vibrant town centre by organising a series of events and initiatives, including the Summer Festival, Christmas and the Privilege Card scheme. It works very hard with local businesses to provide new and expanded services that improve the working and trading environment of the area.

“The first time I came to the town hall I was impressed by the heavy waffle ceiling and the rough concrete...” Nicolas Feldmeyer

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