Artist and architectural designer Natasha Reid has created a temporary art intervention outside of London’s iconic St Paul’s cathedral in memory of the Blitz bombing which devastated the area but left Wren’s masterpiece miraculously untouched. The conceptual artwork, created from fragments of shattered plaster, was part of a London-wide event “Silent Cacophony” which saw over 30 artists create thoughtful performances and artworks to mark Remembrance Day.
Reid’s installation, entitled Echo, aimed to momentarily make legible the memory of the devastation which happened all around St Paul’s Cathedral during WWII. The fragmented forms suspended from a tree evoked debris and destruction, the dark subject matter juxtaposed unexpectedly with the ethereal whiteness of the plaster. Reid wanted to create a subtle and intriguing intervention, its symbolism revealed only upon closer inspection to form a quiet reminder of a hugely violent event in London’s history.
Natasha Reid said, “I’ve always been struck by how St Paul’s survived the WWII bombings; the photographs of its dome, rising above smoke and devastation are such iconic images, an extraordinary symbol of endurance.”
The installation sought to resonate with the urban memory embedded in the site, inviting passers-by to reflect upon past events at the historic location. Hung from bare winter branches and taking the place of leaves that have fallen, “Echo” silently referenced destruction but also evoked the regrowth and renewal of the City following war.
Natasha Reid said, “The process of developing this installation has been a way of understanding and engaging with a piece of city, uncovering and revealing the layers of history and meaning which shape the experience of a particular place”
The piece developed this year builds upon Reid’s installation for last year’s Remembrance Day, created at Waterloo Station, London, exploring the use of broken plaster to evoke instability and displacement following conflict. Her highly experimental art installations are an alternative way for her to understand and engage with ideas about the city and places, and acts as conceptual research to complement her architectural projects.
Natasha Reid: Natasha Reid is a designer working across the disciplines of architecture and art, creating innovative, playful and thought-provoking interventions and installations at a range of scales. Her most recent project, the Embassy for Refugees, was an experimental timber pavilion constructed on the South Bank in June, which then travelled to the newly-opened Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in September and Russell Square for the Bloomsbury Festival in October to form an Embassy for Children’s Rights. She will be opening her 3 month exhibition “Estate of Change” showing photographic studies of a condemned estate in Kilburn at the new Wembley Civic Centre from mid-November.