The Wall – public art installation on the corner of Harrington Rd and Queen’s Gate, South Kensington – is to be taken down as the Residents Association claims that it is not art but advertisement. Please sign this Open letter to support cultural dialogue and freedom of art.
The Wall is a curated cultural initiative that is provided for free to the community; there is no cost to the taxpayer, and no cost to residents.
Inaugurated with a temporary retrospective of critically acclaimed international artist Stefan Bruggemann’s text pieces, the installation received much praise within the art community.
The wall planned to host temporary commissions, each for about six months, allowing visitors to enjoy it during an extended period of time. Focusing on some of the most relevant artists of the current artistic context.
The people who have attached their names to this project serve as evidence of its cultural integrity; these include the patrons who have supported it selflessly, as well as the curators who on this occasion have contributed to the supporting catalogue such as Nicolas de Oliveira, head of curatorial studies at the Whitechapel Gallery, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director of the Serpentine Gallery.
It is curated by Marina Kurikhina, director of Atelier MK, curator specialising in Latin American Art.
Please find more information on www.thewallsouthkensington.com
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has decided that this social project is to be removed, suggesting it advertising not art. Commenting:
The definition of an advertisement is wide and includes “any word, letter, model, sign, placard, board notice awning, blind, device, or representation ............. for the purposes of advertisement, announcement or direction ...... and includes any hoarding ...... used for the display of advertisements”.
The South Kensington & Queen’s Gate Residents Association feels that the installation is a “commercial hoarding that has been very poorly disguised and executed as art".
In a rather aggressive tone, they claim that the “illiteracy contained within these statements is intellectually insulting”.They continue and say “we want this amateur daub's wish fulfilled in that it should be recognised when it is destroyed, as one of the mindless texts suggests“.
My attempts to reach out to the Association have been unsuccessful. I was told that “there is no meeting ground for any compromise on this matter nor a need for any further meeting, as this simply would render a useless waste of even more time.”
Daniel McClean and Christine Hereward of Howard Kennedy FSI have provided pro bono legal advice on ‘artistic freedom of expression and planning law’in support of The Wall.
We request that the council seek professional advice that will allow them to acknowledge that the mural currently on THE WALL is an artwork and has no commercial purpose.
Please sign this open letter to support the freedom of art and culture in London.