Black Maria is a major new commission by the British artist Richard Wentworth working in collaboration with GRUPPE, an emerging Swiss architecture practice. For four weeks the Black Maria timber structure inhabits ‘The Crossing’, the atrium which conjoins the historic Granary Building with the new Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, within the redevelopment of Kings Cross in central London. Named after Edison’s film studio, Black Maria has evolved from the wooden structure of its predecessor into a space where the world is not so much being recorded, as being under scrutiny. With a formidable economy of means, Black Maria suggests that any type of human activity can be played with: doors become screens, stairs double up as seats, and the structural slips towards the ornamental. Retaining the adaptability of Edison’s invention, Black Maria blurs the usual hierarchies of design and use, intention and function, physics and aesthetics, inviting viewers and audiences to question what role they are to perform.
Black Maria offers audiences, participants and passers-by a space where they can stop, observe their surroundings and reflect on their environment; it is conceived as a building within a building and a support structure for the community of The Crossing, supporting both formal events, such as performances, talks and films, and the informal uses of everyday life from finding a place for lunch to a place to work.
Black Maria is part of Relay, a three-year arts programme in the King’s Cross area, which features temporary art commissions by Jacques Rival, Felice Varini, Richard Wentworth and Marjetica Potrc during 2012 and 2013.
Richard Wentworth: Black Maria. The Crossing, Granary Square, King’s Cross, London N1C 4UZ. 13 February-12 March 2013. Nearest tube: King’s Cross St Pancras.
RELAY, King’s Cross first dedicated art programme curated by Michael Pinsky and Stéphanie Delcroix, features major art commissions by internationally acclaimed artists.
Black Maria engineering by Marcel Aubert; construction by Gruppe and Lars Wagner.
Black Maria has been commissioned by King’s Cross and has received the support of: Arts Council England, Eurostar, CSM and AECOM.
For a full calendar of Black Maria’s events