Helen Marriage, Artistic Director of Artichoke, one of the UK’s leading independent production companies, has produced some of the UK’s most talked about art events ranging from Royal de Luxe’s The Sultan’s Elephant, to Antony Gormley’s Fourth Plinth project One & Other, and Peace Camp made by international theatre director Deborah Warner and actor Fiona Shaw for the London 2012 Olympic Festival. Artichoke recently produced the Lumiere festivals in Durham and Central London in January 2016. Artichoke’s interests lie at the conjunction of art, politics, communication and transformation. By creating a platform for an artist’s most impossible ideas and inserting their work into the everyday life of society, Artichoke achieves high impact through massive unexpected disruption to daily life. This work has taken the company into an examination of the nature of control over the public domain and the ways in which our cities and landscapes can be re-imagined, if only temporarily. It is the company’s belief that while its transformation of the landscape is ephemeral, the transformation of the individual witness leaves a permanent legacy. Helen was granted a Loeb Fellowship at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard, from 2012-2013 and an MBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list.
- LUMIERE DURHAMThe UK’s largest light festival returned to Durham in November 2015. An international array of artists lit the city once more in spectacular and unexpected ways. An estimated 200,000 people visited the festival over four evenings. Despite torrential downpours, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to enjoy the fourth Lumiere Durham light festival. Commissioned by Durham County Council and supported by Arts Council England and a raft of sponsors, once again the city became a new
- THE SULTAN'S ELEPHANT | ROYAL DE LUXEThe Sultan’s Elephant was the biggest piece of free theatre ever seen in London, set against the city’s magnificent landmarks. French theatrical magicians Royal de Luxe had already toured their elephant across Europe, but had never before performed in the UK. The vast, time-travelling mechanical elephant, taller than Admiralty Arch and 42 tonnes in weight, was joined by a giant girl, twenty feet high. For four days they enthralled their audience with sprays of water, bus rides and by sewing car
- LUMIERE LONDONArtichoke transformed iconic buildings across King's Cross and the West End, turning the city into a noctornal delight. Supported by the Mayor of London, Lumiere London turned King’s Cross and London’s West End, including Leicester Square, Piccadilly, Regent Street, St James’s and Carnaby into a magical pedestrian playground and encouraged Londoners and tourists alike to explore the heart of the capital and view it in a new light. Attended by over one million people over four evenings, visitors experienced 30 light installations including a glowing tropical garden filled with giant plants in Leicester Square Gardens and a technicolour animation featuring the faces of some of the UK’s best-loved TV and film stars, projected onto BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly. At Oxford Circus, which was closed to traffic during the festival, people lay on their backs gazing up at 1.8 London, Janet Echelman’s beautifully illuminated aerial sculpture strung between buildings at Oxford Circus. Along Regent Street, pedestrianised for the event, crowds gathered to see Elephantastic!, a 3D, larger-than-life projected elephant stomping through the Air Street arch, while in St James’s visitors gazed at the ethereal Les Voyageurs – sculpted human forms flying high above the buildings. At Westminster Abbey, audiences stood mesmerized by The Light of the Spirit, a digital painting by French artist Patrice Warrener, who had bathed the Abbey’s West Gate in an electric riot of colour. In Carnaby, on Broadwick Street, visitors gathered around Julian Opie’s animated LED monolith – Shaida Walking. The piece has been commissioned as a permanent installation and will be illuminated during the day as well as at night. Aquarium, Benedetto Bufalino & Benoit Deseille’s iconic red telephone box filled with exotic fish at Grosvenor Square, was a firm festival favourite, drawing audiences to the leafy garden square in Mayfair. The square was also a temporary home to Elaine Buckholtz’s abstract digital painting, which uses light and music to re-imagine Van Gogh’s painting All Night Café. Hundreds of Londoners of all ages played their part in the festival: from donating a recycled plastic bottle to the glowing Plastic Islands installation by Luzinterruptus in the Trafalgar Square fountains, to appearing on film in the spectacular Circus of Light projected onto the Granary Building at King’s Cross. 500 children also took part in workshops at schools in the area to help make Joining the Dots and Litre of Light, both also at King’s Cross. The festival was made possible through founding support from Atom Bank, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Heart of London Business Alliance, London & Partners and King’s Cross, alongside other partners and sponsors, including Westminster City Council. Pictured: Keyframes, Groupe LAPS / Thomas Veyssiére, Lumiere London 2016. Produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews.
- PEACE CAMP | DEBORAH WARNER & FIONA SHAWInspired by the Olympic Truce, whose roots date back to Ancient Greece, renowned director Deborah Warner was commissioned to create a coastal installation encircling the UK in collaboration with actor Fiona Shaw. Eight murmuring, glowing encampments appeared simultaneously at some of our most beautiful and remote coastal locations, from County Antrim to the tip of Cornwall, from the Isle of Lewis to the Sussex cliffs. Designed to be visited between dusk and dawn, Peace Camp was a poignant exploration of love poetry and a celebration of the extraordinary variety and beauty of our coastline. Alongside the live installations, the project also paints an audible portrait of the nation online. The people of the UK have nominated and recorded their favourite love poems and submited their own messages, creating an online anthology that celebrates our languages, dialects and accents as well as our rich poetic tradition. Make your contribution today and be part of this extraordinary project. SOUNDSCAPE The soundscape, or 'poemscape', to the installation was a work of art in itself, composed by Mel Mercier. INTENTS Artichoke has been working with over 400 children and young people, from the Isle of Skye to the tip of Cornwall, as part of the InTents education project linked to Peace Camp. Facilitated by some of the UK’s most outstanding artist-educators, groups of students at each participating school have chosen a love-related theme around which they have written poems and made immersive art installations. CREDITS Created by Deborah Warner in collaboration with Fiona Shaw Soundscape by Mel Mercier Sound design by John Del' Nero Peace Camp was co-commissioned by London 2012 Festival and Derry-Londonderry City of Culture.
- LA MACHINE, LA PRINCESSE | FRANÇOIS LAUZIÈRELa Machine’s giant mechanical spider La Princesse captured Liverpool’s heart as the centrepiece of the city’s European Capital of Culture celebrations. In September 2008, commuters and residents discovered an unexpected visitor to Liverpool. A giant spider clung to a derelict tower block next to Lime St Station. ‘La Princesse’, as she became known, enchanted onlookers as she progressed through the city. Vast in scale, the spider drenched crowds with sprays of water, while scientists used wind, fire and snow to contain her. The resulting spectacle was breathtaking. La Princesse was created by French theatrical engineers La Machine. The show was commissioned as part of Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture celebrations. The spider was a feat of engineering genius: she was fifty foot high, weighed 37 tonnes, and had 50 separate axes of movement. For five days, a giant mechanical spider stopped a city in its tracks. She captured the hearts of Liverpudlians and visitors alike. WHERE? La Princesse began her journey clinging to the side of Concourse House next to Lime St Station. She was then removed by scientists to the Echo Arena, where she awoke. She moved to Albert Dock and proceeded to the Cunard Building. She then made her way to the Queensway Tunnel, via Water Street, Castle Street, Lord Street and Ranelagh Place. In the finale the spider disappeared down the entrance to the Queensway Tunnel, never to be seen again. THE ARTISTS La Machine is a French company based in Nantes. It is headed by Francois Delaroziere. The company was formed in the early 1990s as a collaboration between artists, designers and technicians. Their aim was to create extraordinary theatrical machines, permanent installations, as well as their own theatrical productions. La Machine has created many theatrical machines. These include a series of giants for Royal de Luxe, including The Sultan’s Elephant. In 2003 La Machine launched their show Symphonie Mécanique in collaboration with composer Dominique Malan, and the exhibition Le Grand Répertoire. In 2007, the company opened Les Machines de L’Ile on the site of an old shipbuilding yard at the edge of the River Loire. This is a permanent gallery containing models and designs for many of La Machine’s creations. In 2010 they will open another permanent attraction there, Le Carrousel du Monde Marins, a merry-go-round of fish and sea creatures. In 2008 they created Le Manège Carré Sénart, a square merry-go-round of insects and buffalo, which was commissioned by the town of Sénart. Their work has toured across the world – to Japan, Australia, the USA and across Europe, making them one of the most renowned theatrical companies in their field.
- ONE & OTHER | ANTONY GORMLEYAntony Gormley invited Artichoke to produce his epic commission for Trafalgar Square’s ‘empty’ fourth plinth in July 2009. The idea: to place 2400 people from across the UK on the plinth for an hour each. Trafalgar Square is one of the most symbolic places in the country. By taking their place amongst military figures the ‘plinthers’ came to represent humanity itself. One & Other was open to anyone who was over the age of 16 living or staying in the UK. A computer chose participants based a proportional geographical spread and a gender split. Every hour, 24 hours a day, for 100 days, 2400 people sang, campaigned, performed, undressed or simply stood on the plinth. Thousands watched them from the Square. Even more tuned in to watch the live stream on the website, provided by our partners Sky Arts.There were over 35,000 applicants for the 2400 slots. The website has received 8.8 million hits to date, by over 800,000 individuals. One & Other will have a legacy beyond the summer of 2009. Random House is producing a 700-page book, which will be published in late 2010. The British Library is ensuring that the website will remain online for perpetuity and the Wellcome Trust will be archiving details of all participants. Not only was this the event of the summer; it will provide a snapshot of British society at the end of the decade.
Projects credited in
- Temple: Bonfire InstallationA radical arts project in Derry~Londonderry. Bonfires have long been a part of Northern Ireland’s history. To some they are a time-honoured tradition, to others they create tension and division. Artist David Best has a reputation for constructing huge, soaring temple structures at Burning Man in the Nevada Desert. Built with his volunteer Temple Crew, the structures have become a place for remembrance, their ritual burning an opportunity to let go of painful memories.15
Helen Marriage, Artistic Director of Artichoke, one of the UK’s leading independent production companies, has produced some of the UK’s most talked about art events ranging from Royal de Luxe’s The Sultan’s Elephant, to Antony Gormley’s Fourth Plinth project One & Other, and Peace Camp made by international theatre director Deborah Warner and actor Fiona Shaw for the London 2012 Olympic Festival. Artichoke recently produced the Lumiere festivals in Durham and Central London in January 2016.
- Art Direction
- Production Management
- Creative Direction