Location65 Peckham Rd, London SE5 8UH, United Kingdom
Collaborators6a architects, horticulturists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Text description provided by the architects. Created over the past two years by the artist, with support from 6aarchitects and horticulturists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, this extraordinary garden will be open to the public every weekend and used by invited groups during the week. It introduces a new, planted entrance to the garden for residents of Sceaux Gardens housing estate, where the SLG has run art programmes for a number of years. The opening of the garden marks a pivotal moment in the SLG’s history of working with artists on ambitious and challenging projects which aim to inspire, attract and connect with large and diverse audiences.
Establishing a tension between symmetry and assymetry, a geometry of intertwining circles intricately outlined in brick dimensioned york stone subtly maps a series of discreet spaces or notional rooms. Each is lent its own distinctive character through slight shifts in form or by being at different levels, variously planted or featuring seating, a sink, water butt or welcome bowl built up from the york stone.
The various levels and spaces can be used interchangeably for sitting, eating, playing or showing work by other artists, reflecting the multiple activities the garden will be used for. The choice of materials was drawn from the language of the gallery’s Victorian building and includes bricks from the newly opened up rear facade. Playing on the idea of an urban ruin, the garden will gradually evolve to become rambling and overgrown with different grasses, low level creepers and fragrant plants chosen with expert advice from horticulturists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
The invitation to create a garden at the SLG as a permanent art work presented a unique opportunity to extend my work into new territory. From my first visit I was impressed by the SLG’s commitment to its local community and neighbourhood and intrigued by the relationship between the garden space and its different audiences, and the idea of creating something which could provide an inspiring platform for all of them. I started to think about various geometries emerging from the architecture surrounding the space and how they might be re-integrated into it as the basis of a design. It has been a fascinating process working directly with the gallery, architects and horticulturalists to develop the plans for the work which I am excited to see become a reality.