Royal London Hospital Artist in residency

New Royal London hospital collection, Whitechapel, London.

Vital Arts is delighted to announce its new Artist-in-Residence programme to develop new work in response to Barts and The London. Artists are given special access to the current buildings and the Trust's extensive museum collection, in addition to use of a small studio. The first artist to take up this opportunity is Anka Dabrowska who is interested in how the public intersect with the urban landscape. The Royal London, one of busiest hospitals in the UK is a complex public realm setting and offers itself as a fascinating topic for Anka Dabrowska. ‘My installations, sculptures and drawings are embedded in urban contexts, intertwined with memory and geographically constructed identities. My work often seems to exist in an in-between state where it can be difficult to ascertain whether works are in half-built or half-derelict state. Sometimes throughout my work there is a sense of an acceptance of failure or disappointment as important part of the human condition. The dependency of the work on the environment in which it is built and shown is also something that interests me greatly. I’m interested in the vulnerability and the temporary nature of things. I often use architectural forms in my work as they represent, for me, the most poignant example of transience; man’s attempt to create permanence and legacy through building. I am also interested in the way that architecture can act as metaphor for our internal selves (the body as a building that houses the mind) and with the enduring sense of memory and/or personal identity is often embedded into or linked with particular sites. During the residency with Vital Arts I worked with and drew upon the Royal London hospital’s history- that of the building and its location. My main focus was on the actual location and the site of the hospital, working with ‘the street’ and the urban environment. By showing engagement with this environment I manipulated my new surroundings and challenged the established perception of the everyday. Cutting and rearranging my materials to make sculptural arrangements, drawings and collage which find beauty in what we overlook or throw away. My aim was to reflect on my passion for the build environment as well as the life that pulses within the city streets. I created sculpture from inexpensive, low-grade materials such as cardboard, fabric, wood, polystyrene, plaster and concrete to explore my interest in architecture and urban living. By combining elements of the past with the present I created objects that oscillate between the public and private, the troublingly personal and the unsettlingly familiar. The final installation aims to demonstrate an affinity for architecture, fragility of our existence and how cities in general intervene in personal identity.’
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