Central Saint Martins new building in Granary Square, Kings Cross is home to many things - a beautiful theatre space, buzzing student bar, wood and ceramic workshops, computer labs, swarms of art students and one very prominent feature: a big white wall, 7m x 30m to be exact. Partnering with Winsor & Newton, Liquitex and Conté a Paris, Cass Art leapt at the chance to provide students with the opportunity to reinvent this amazing space.
The Dean of Academic Programmes at Central Saint Martins, Mark Dunhill, proposed the annual competition in 2012. He explains, “the project is an experiment that sets a really ambitious challenge to motivated students with the energy and commitment to realise a wall based artwork. We want to encourage students to use the potential of the building to make new work outside the confines of the studio.”
Students were asked to think big, and submit their proposal to a judging panel including artist and designer Tess Jaray and Morag Myerscough in November 2013. “Many submitted bold and thought provoking ideas and designs that to a greater or lesser extent took on the scale of the wall and potential to occupy the space and engage the viewer.”
The project inevitably connects to a long tradition of fresco and mural painting with many important historical references and some more contemporary examples explored by artists such as Michael Craig-Martin, Richard Wright, David Tremlett, Sol le Witt, Tess Jaray, and others. The challenge was to devise a work that fully exploits the scale of the wall, can be produced safely, within a limited timescale, and to a given budget – and with a guarantee that the wall can be returned to its current state after a period of approx 16 weeks on view to the students and staff of Central Saint Martins.
The winners, second year Graphic Design students Violeta Aguirre and Persa Hajiyanni, have produced an experimental and ambitious drawing machine linked to a piano which, when played, creates a series of marks on the wall.
‘Our time based piece works as an info-graph that has been programmed to make a drawing over a period of 30 days. A full day is represented by a single line across the wall, consisting of black marks whenever there is sound and white spaces whenever there is silence. The installation encourages piano playing – and transcribes in a simplified form the language of music into a new visual ‘score’ drawn directly and mechanically on the wall in response to the duration of sound and silence.’
You can follow the progess from inside Central Saint Martins on Twitter using the hashtag #CSMBigWhiteWall. A time lapse video will be up on the Cass Art blog and the Winsor & Newton website shortly.
Image credits: Violeta Aguirre and Persa Hajiyanni