This body of work was largely completed during the spring of 2020 in West Cornwall, whilst under measures of national ‘lockdown’ caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. It will feature in my prospective degree show at City and Guilds of London Art School.
Plummeting global markets during the pandemic drew my attention to the fragility of the financial system. Symbols of stability and growth such as the Bank of England are pervasive in visual culture. In a found print dated 1804 depicting the Bank of England as designed by the neo-classical architect John Soane, I noticed the backdrop to the imposing structure: a cloudy sky. This decorative element depicts a transient subject which for me, served to diminish the stability suggested in the illustration of the bank.
I collected a number of these line engraved illustrations of the Bank of England, to use as visual source material. These artefacts celebrate the importance of the institution to the expansion of the British empire. However, the exploitation and injustice that frequently accompany the accruement of large personal wealth happens beyond the frame of these images. The imposter in this orderly scene is the cloudy sky. An ephemeral reminder of the massive global forces that serve as the ultimate backdrop to our worldly affairs.
The series of large charcoal drawings made in response to these engravings, suggest that these concerns are very much contemporary. They extract and amplify the motion present in the clouds above the Bank of England and disrupt the viewer’s consideration of a supposedly stable institution.