For this week only, Heal’s homewares store in London has offered up its window display to ten artists from the UCL Slade School of Fine Art, who will work in the space as well as display original artworks created during their stay.
This is the second Artists in Residence project at Heal’s, with the first taking place last February. A number of artists from last year are in fact returning to the project for a second year, suggesting that working as live artist-models under the constant scrutiny of the public can prove a surprisingly fruitful way of making artworks. Amongst those returning is Alex Springer, who has taken a variety of kitchenware products from the store, including a kettle and a Brabantia bin, and converted them into pinhole cameras. Customers are invited to use these cameras to take photos, which Springer will develop and then display in the store.
Alex Springer developing photos in Heal’s, plus his kettle-camera
Also returning is Cansu Aladag, who offers up an installation that is part-performance, part craft display. She will sit in the window of the store for the duration of the week, knitting with a giant pair of needles created with walking sticks, and will also host small workshops on the weekend to teach customers how to knit, so they can help contribute to her in-store installation. Haruka Ono is also creating an interactive work – a large-scale treasure map of the Heal’s building on which customers are invited to illustrate or draw directions to their favourite products around the store.
Cansu Aladag knits in the Heal’s window
There is an eclectic range of other artworks being created over the week. Estelle Holland is making a hand-drawn animation of two people making a bed, which will be projected onto the canopy of a four-poster bed that customers must lie on to view, while Poppy Whatmore has set up a fantasy furniture-making workshop in her part of the window. Nadine Mahoney (shown top, and below) is incorporating the store window itself into her work, using it as a printing plate to produce images that will then be displayed in the space. She will also host small printing workshops during the week.
Nadine Mahoney is using the window as a printing press
Artists Siân Louise Landau and Sophie Blagden will be working live in the space to create new paintings and sculptures respectively, and Emily-Jane Robinson will take photographic portraits of both Heal’s staff and customers during the week. Robinson is also displaying a series of previously made photographs based around the theme of ‘home’, appropriately enough.
Sophie Blagden working in the window
Perhaps the quirkiest display, however, comes from Yujin Chang, who is displaying ‘Heel’s at Heal’s’, a three-part project that includes six pairs of painted shoes displayed as a wall installation, a selection of shoe sculptures inspired by Heal’s products, and finally five pairs of shoes filled with edible materials, which were capturing the attention of passers-by when I visited. Each day Chang will clean out and ‘refresh’ the shoes for the new day’s customers. Tasty.
Salad anyone? Part of Yujin Chang’s Heels at Heal’s project
The Heal’s Artists in Residence project will run until Sunday, February 6 in store. Selected artworks will be available for sale directly from the artists during the week. For more info, visit heals.co.uk.