The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)’s newly opened Centre Building was first surveyed in hard hats and steel-toe capped boots by the ARTIQ team who looked to visualise art for a space soon to be bursting with the energy of knowledge, thought and community.
ARTIQ worked closely with the team at LSE to develop an art collection that would provide several focal points for the student community and inspire discussion and debate across the campus. The art collection at LSE is inspired by the theme of contemporary global politics and showcases a number of powerful and topical artworks across multiple medium, including a large-scale mural.
Spanish-born, Hackney-based artist, Carlos Peñalver’s work is inspired by travel, people and drawing. Carlos creates both large-scale paintings and murals, using a dynamic line-drawing style and monochromatic palette. ARTIQ liaised closely with the artist and staff at LSE to develop a brief for a large-scale mural to be developed for the ground and lower ground floor.
Carlos Peñalver’s mural is inspired by global politics and the environment. The mural can be read like a frieze, from one panel to the next to the next, exploring contemporary issues of the climate and reflecting a growing sense of environmental importance. The work contains a number of scenes depicting climate-based issues alongside an inspiring scene made up of political leaders from across a variety of communities and cultures, coming together to respond to the call of global climate action.
To create the mural, Carlos visited the site each day over a period of fifteen days, producing the artwork live on site each day throughout fresher’s week. This unique installation technique offered students the chance to engage directly with the artist and artwork, watching the mural be created in realtime and having the opportunity to talk to Carlos about the themes behind the work. Some students were even able to influence how the work turned out, with a number of particularly curious students being immortalised by Carlos in the design.
To find out more about the mural, please watch the video below:
ARTIQ worked closely with a gallery from the USA to procure a series of prints by American contemporary street artist, Shepard Fairey for the collection. Fairey is a graphic designer, activist, illustrator and founder of OBEY. He became widely well known during the 2008 US Presidential elections for his Barack Obama ‘Hope’ Poster. Fairey has always been open about controversial social and political topics and often donates and creates artwork in order to promote awareness of these social issues and contributes directly to these causes. Fairey also supports the arts and sits on the advisory board of Reaching To Embrace the Arts, a non-profit organisation that provides art supplies to disadvantaged schools and students.
Fairey’s inclusion in the collection reflects LSE’s positioning as a global university. The pieces are bold in colour and are created with interesting and thought-provoking compositions, offering a striking visual and a political talking point.
A number of original paintings by British artist Ricky Reveley can also be seen in the collection. Having studied at Chelsea College of art, Ricky began making collages and small paintings based on his father’s experience serving within the 3 Para Troop regiment. His father often told Ricky stories of the times he spent on exercise, jumping from Chinook helicopters and navigating his way through the surrounding landscapes. He documented his time by taking many photography and short films. This documentation forms the starting points for many of Reveley’s artworks and paintings.
The pieces were chosen to inspire discussion with students about international relations, war and peace and political history, many of the themes explored in their studies.
Joanna Gilbert is an east London based artist who creates colourful, vibrant paintings incorporating street art and music elements. She is also inspired by social issues such as consumerism and anti-social behaviours which often feature in her larger and more expressive works.
Jo is also fascinated with architecture and geometry, seen as a central theme in the works chosen for the LSE art collection. The pieces selected by ARTIQ draw inspiration from the structural design of the Centre Building itself. The design is layered with floors that interact with one another, as if climbing a staircase and compliment the interior design scheme of the Centre Building through their use of bold, primary colours.
Born in Hong Kong in 1979, Stefanie Ho first pursued a career not in the arts, studying at the London School of Economics and graduating in 2001. She then looked to pursue her interests in fine art, enrolling at City and Guilds of London Art School and then at the prestigious Christies Education.
Stef’s style is influenced by the early 20th century paintings by artist Lawrence Lowry. Her composition is based on photography as a starting point for each piece and she is inspired by incorporating views observed from life to guide her designs as well as choreographed scenes. Appearing to be floating freely on the background every single figure is carefully placed on the canvas. Just like a musical piece, the artist creates a rhythmical composition, relating directly with the viewer.
As an LSE alumnus it felt important to include Stef’s work within the art collection of the new Centre Building. Additionally, Stef’s work was chosen for its bold, bright colours and it’s depictions of human interaction and community.
Olly Fathers is an artist based in Brixton. Olly’s work investigates how man-made structures contribute to the way we perceive, judge and negotiate our positions in space. The artist is interested in the subconscious interaction between people and objects, which results in a work that takes the viewer on a visual journey.
The artist assumes the role of urban planner by engaging with the relationship between the practical need to navigate the city space and the desire for fulfilling an aesthetic or intellectual experience of the landscape. Olly’s medium of choice is acrylic paint because of its fluidity which allows the artist to create unexpected and dynamic compositions through his innovative drip technique.
Olly’s work has been chosen to feature within the LSE art collection due to its visual reference to the city of London. Using his drip technique across 3D MDF panels, Olly adds a sculptural relief to the works, whilst the interconnected lines provide a visual that conjures the image of an underground network or bus routes, reflecting the movement of people and ideas.