26 September 2017

Inaugural Powerhouse Commission Artworks Unveiled

The artists were announced as joint winners of the inaugural ‘Powerhouse Commission’ in August, and were chosen from a shortlist of nine international artists that included: Claire Barclay (UK); Olaf Breuning (Switzerland); Conrad Shawcross (UK); Yutaka Sone (Japan); Nina Beier (Denmark); Raphael Hefti (Switzerland) and Bedwyr Williams (UK). The ‘Powerhouse Commission’ aims to provide artists with an exceptional opportunity to achieve new levels of ambition by developing works that engage with and reach new audiences set against the backdrop of Battersea Power Station.

The artists will be giving a talk about their work on Thursday 28th September at The Village Hall, Arches Lane, Circus West Village, Battersea Power Station at 7.30pm. Tickets are £10 and are on sale here.

The winners of this first iteration of the Commission were selected by a judging panel of experts; Jude Kelly CBE, Artistic Director at the Southbank Centre and Cultural Advisor at Battersea Power Station; Anne Mullins, Head of Culture at Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership; Misha Curson, Deputy Director, Cass Sculpture Foundation; Helen Turner, Curator at Cass Sculpture Foundation; and David Twohig, Head of Design at Battersea Power Station.

British-born, New York-based Jesse Wine’s work, Locals Vocals, mirrors the timeline of Battersea Power Station through the historical development of sculpture during the same period, from 1933 through to the present day. The work directly references Battersea Power Station’s local history of sculpture by re-creating and re-interpreting the work of Henry Moore, who studied at the Royal College of Art and presented work in Battersea Park. At the same time, it retains Wine’s signature style, adorned with depictions of objects – including cups of tea, sandwiches, notepads and flat caps – suggesting a huddle of workers paused for a tea break on an icon of 20th century British art.

For his commissioned sculpture, Malaysian artist Haffendi Anuar has created a site-specific series of pilotis, traditional architectural columns that lift a building above ground or water, and which are commonly found in stilted dwellings, such as fishermen’s huts, across Asia. Within the context of Battersea Power Station, Machines for Modern Living are intended as surrogates of Battersea Power Station’s’ chimneys. By installing them on ground level at Circus West, their presence is anchored to the site, bringing the distant chimneys of Battersea Power Station within grasp. The complex forms of the sculptures, with their angular stacks, allude to both western minimalism and traditional Malaysian-Indonesian architecture.

Jesse Wine said: “It is rare that you get to expand what you do in such a dramatic fashion. This opportunity has been brilliant as it allows genuine experimentation – materially, conceptually and socially. Also, I often work alone but this project has provided me with a huge amount of support every step of the way.”

Haffendi Anuar said: “The ‘Powerhouse Commission’ has given me the opportunity to work on a large-scale project and create a site-specific work that responds to the architectural environment and history of the Battersea site, as well as being sensitive to the nature of the project. The commission involves working with an established institution, CASS Sculpture Foundation, which has been extremely helpful in advising and guiding me through the process, as well as being generous with regards to sharing thoughts and ideas. This project is my first outdoor sculpture commission, and my first major work outside of Malaysia. Working on it has given me the confidence and knowledge to tackle future outdoor sculpture and installation projects, and to embrace a collaborative effort and new fabrication methods.”

David Twohig, Head of Design at Battersea Power Station, said: “It’s great to see the first two commissions being installed here at Battersea Power Station. For us, it’s just as important to enliven the spaces between the buildings as it is the buildings themselves. We want to make a place that people want to come and visit and by creating an environment that is culturally interesting, we hope we can achieve this. We have a long-term ambition to make Battersea a new cultural district and the unveiling of our first two sculptures with Cass Sculpture Foundation is a big step towards that.”

Clare Hindle, CASS Executive Director, said: “Eighteen years ago Cass Sculpture Foundation established the commissioning process for the Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square with Mark Wallinger’s Ecce Homo. I am thrilled to continue our legacy of presenting contemporary sculpture at London’s most prestigious public platforms, while maintaining our core charitable endeavour: to champion exceptional talent and provide artists with unexampled opportunity.”

Clare Lilley, Director of Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and Curator of Frieze Sculpture Park, said: “Britain’s cultural industries are a dynamic part of our economy and global recognition, and providing opportunities for young and mid-career artists is a vital role of our institutions. It is hugely gratifying that Battersea Power Station and Cass Sculpture Foundation have forged a partnership that propels distinctive creative purpose in such an iconic environment and I’m certain that both the commission and programme are positioned to become exemplary features of London’s cultural activity, greatly benefiting both the successful artist and their public.”

Wine’s and Anuar’s sculptures will remain at Battersea Power Station for three months, adding to the variety of public art that London currently has to offer.

As with all other works at CASS, the two ‘Powerhouse’ commissions are available for sale. Proceeds from the sales will be invested directly into future commissions.

The Powerhouse Commission forms part of Battersea Power Station’s wider vision to deliver a new cultural district for London that will build a sense of community and ownership around it and to widen access to culture for audiences in South West London. This is part of a long-term cultural and community investment that will take place over the multiple phases of the development as the new neighbourhood takes shape. Recent openings include the Village Hall, a new 5,000 sq ft multi-use arts venue created in partnership with Battersea Arts Centre, and a new public artwork by leading British artist and designer Morag Myerscough that welcomes residents and visitors to Circus West Village, the first phase of Battersea Power Station’s redevelopment.  

The Malaysian shareholders of the Battersea Power Station project are committed to giving back to the communities in which they operate. They recognise the importance of creating shared value and this is embedded in all their undertakings to ensure that they contribute to building a harmonious and caring community.