Barbican foyer commissions continue this autumn with work from five innovative artists and collectives

The Barbican’s series of foyer commissions continues this autumn with work from five innovative artists and collectives, ranging from monumental sculpture, to choreographer residencies to large-scale projected mediations on spirituality. The programme extends the artistic programme beyond the walls of the Barbican’s venues, and is free for audiences to explore and engage with any time the Centre is open.


HÍBRIDOS, The Spirits of Brazil by Vincent Moon and Priscilla Telmon, a filmic tapestry of constantly evolving ritualistic forms and theatrical sacred rites from across Brazil.

The Fairlop Oak by Gayle Chong Kwan, a huge sculpture drawing upon the famed pollarded trees in Epping Forest and the architecture of protest.

WArd/waRD meets/redefines the Barbican by Ann Van den Broek, a residency by the choreographer in the Barbican public spaces exploring their effects spectators and performers.

Interlock: Friends Pictured Within by Anna Meredith, Jonathan Munro and 100 participants from east London, an interactive multimedia installation exploring Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

Less than Thirteen by Cleary Connolly, which simplifies and abstracts the movements of Sir Simon Rattle conducting to explore theories of perception and the inherent musicality of movement.


HÍBRIDOS, The Spirits of Brazil

Fri 29 Sep – Fri 15 Dec 2017


Opening to accompany the 2017 Transcender series, the Barbican foyers will host a site-specific film installation by independent French filmmakers Vincent Moon and Priscilla Telmon. The installation Híbridos, The Spirits of Brazil is a poetic filmic tapestry of constantly evolving ritualistic forms and theatrical sacred rites that lasts 24 hours in total. The large-scale projection brings together numerous short films which explore present day spiritual groups in Brazil, mixing tradition and modernity.


Over the past three years, Priscilla and Vincent have collected audio-visual recordings from over sixty different ceremonies across Brazil, from the indigenous ancestral rituals of Acre, the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé in Bahia, the new forms of Umbanda ceremonies in Minas Gerais, to one of the biggest Catholic gatherings in the world in Belém do Pará.


This Barbican foyer installation can be experienced whenever the Centre is open and is the latest event in the ongoing multiform project HÍBRIDOS, which also includes a feature length film, a large online archive, 75 digital albums of recordings of ceremonies, live cinema experiences, and more.


Projections by Christie


The People’s Forest: The Fairlop Oak

13 Oct 2017 – 18 Mar 2018


On 14 October artist Gayle Chong Kwan’s monolithic 11-metre high sculpture The Fairlop Oak, takes root in the Barbican, towering up through three floors into the ground floor foyers. The hybrid contemporary-historical installation draws together new, natural and man-made materials, with scores of small model houses created from waste packaging sitting atop felled branches from Epping Forest.


The Fairlop Oak is part of The People’s Forest, an ambitious two-year investigation by Chong Kwan into the politics, history of protest, and people of London’s ancient woodland, Epping Forest. Chong Kwan explores the forest as a site of shared and contested resources, conflict between capital and common, private and public, and as a threshold between rural and urban.


The original Fairlop Oak was a celebrated tree and also the site of a famous eighteenth century fair in Hainault Forest, and its destruction signalled a warning for the threats to nearby Epping Forest. Chong Kwan’s installation references protests leading to the Epping Forest Act of 1878 when it was established as ‘The People’s Forest’, the M11 Link Road protests of the 1990s, and contemporary issues relating to protest, politics, and place.


Chong Kwan initially presented The People’s Forest: The Fairlop Oak in 6-metre form at Walthamstow Garden Party in July where visitors contributed models of their homes to the work. The 11-metre version is part of the Barbican’s 2018 season The Art of Change, which explores how the arts respond to, reflect and potentially effect change in the social and political landscape, and part of the Barbican’s foyer commissions programme.


Chong Kwan’s research with diverse communities around Epping Forest has spanned walks, workshops, sensory feasts, and talks exploring the arboreal history, industries, politics, sounds, and personal memories of one of London’s oldest and largest open spaces, as well as examining local issues and the impact of globalisation. The research will evolve into a significant new body of work to be shown at William Morris Gallery 3 March – 20 May 2018 and later in the year elements of the exhibition will be presented at The View exhibition centre in Epping Forest. William Morris grew up close to Epping Forest, which he credited as inspiring much of his work, and he campaigned to save the forest from enclosure.


WArd/waRD meets/redefines the Barbican

23 Oct – 27 Oct 2017 and 30 Oct - 3 Nov 2017

11am – 7pm

Barbican Foyers


Choreographer Ann Van den Broek and her Dutch/Flemish company WArd/waRD are resident in the Barbican Foyers this autumn, focusing on the effect of public spaces on spectators and performers. What happens when stage and seating switch places? What happens when performance spaces such as the theatre or the hall are removed? How does leaving the safety of the stage affect performers and spectators behaviour?


Van den Broek will develop and expand the idea of a “total experience” within her productions - the combination of movement with video, audio and text, while exploring her own “emotional minimalist” movement language - in which the expressive character of her work and the mathematical structure of her compositions create a tension which drives her productions forward.


On the ground floor of the Barbican, visitors can be confronted – either deliberately or by accident – by Van den Broek and her performers. Visitors to the Centre are invited to listen in to conversations Van den Broek will hold with musicians, visual artists, scientists and technicians in the public spaces.


Ann Van den Broek and her company first spent time in the Barbican in July 2015 and emerged inspired, enriched and moved. American multi-media artist Doug Aitken invited Van den Broek and WArd/waRD to participate in Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening – a living exhibition which saw artists, film-makers, choreographers and musicians create and perform in the gallery for one month. There she worked on the foundations of what was to become her well-received 15th anniversary production, Pushing The Wheel


Since 2000, Ann Van den Broek [Antwerp (BE), 1970] has made over twenty choreographies and a film for and with her company Ward/waRD (BE/NL). Her work has been nominated several times for the Zwaan (Swan), the most prestigious dance prize in the Netherlands, and again this year for her latest work: Accusations. She was awarded the prize twice: for Co(te)lette (2008) and The Black Piece (2015). The Co(te)lette Film won several international prizes.

In 2010, Ann received the Mousson Award, an initiative of Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt (D). In 2015, the book about her work, protect/perform, was published and filmmaker Lisa Boerstra made the documentary The Lady in Black.


Van den Broek’s return to the Barbican this Autumn is the first of two residencies that will see her return in 2018.


Interlock: Friends Pictured Within

Thu 14 Sep 2017 - Sun 7 Jan 2018


Interlock: Friends Pictured Within is a new interactive multimedia installation from musician Anna Meredith and artist Jonathan Munro together with over 100 community participants from east London. It was devised by Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning, which supports people of all ages and backgrounds to access world-class arts for free.


Interlock: Friends Pictured Within explores Elgar’s Enigma Variations, a piece Elgar wrote to characterise his closest friends, representing aspects of their personalities and memorable episodes in their relationship through his musical compositions.


After examining the characteristics and personalities of each other in a series of workshops, the participants have composed and captured their own variations; these fourteen group variations are expressed in different art forms such as music, dance, illustration, poetry, visual art and animation. Each of these self-contained pieces interlock when placed into the interactive installation created by Anna Meredith and Jonathan Munro, bringing together the individual artworks. Visitors to the Barbican Centre will be able to trigger the different audio visual artworks using floor sensors, creating their own composition.


The groups involved are Greenleaf Primary School (Barbican Guildhall Associate School), X7eaven, Greenshoes Community Centre, Broadway Playhouse, Kuumba Youth Music, Barbican Young Poets, Barbican Young Visual Artists, Opening Doors and LSO Next Generation


Projections by Christie


Less than Thirteen

Thu 14 Sep 2017 - Sun 7 Jan 2018


The Barbican and LSO have jointly commissioned a new digital work from award-winning artistic duo Cleary Connolly for the Concert Hall Wall, situated in the heart of the Barbican’s foyers.


Less than Thirteen is a large-scale projected artwork, which interprets the movement of Sir Simon Rattle conducting. The silent, abstract videos reduce the human form to a series of animated dots based on motion capture of Sir Simon’s conducting of Elgar’s Enigma Variations. The work explores the inherent musicality of movement, investigating how the conductor’s movement, although silent, can conjure up an aural response from the orchestra.


Less than Thirteen draws on Gunnar Johansson’s theories of motion perception, which showed that as few as thirteen moving points can be fully understood as a human body. The projections visualise Sir Simon Rattle in less than thirteen moving dots, further abstracting the motion while striving to evoke melody and music in the minds of visitors.


The LSO worked with the University of Portsmouth and Vicon Motion Systems on a concept devised by The Partners to capture Sir Simon Rattle conducting Elgar’s Variations on an Original Theme: ‘Enigma’, using motion capture technology.


Projections by Christie





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About The People’s Forest and Gayle Chong Kwan

Gayle Chong Kwan is a London-based artist whose large-scale photographic, installation and video work is exhibited internationally. She makes immersive environments and mise-en-scenes, constructed in states of resolution and dissolution between imagined futures, alternative presents, and fictional mechanisms. Works includes The Pan Hag, Forma, 2016; Anthropo-scene, Bloomberg Space, 2015; Arripare, REFOCUS Photography Prize, 2013; Wastescape, Southbank Centre, 2012; and The Obsidian Isle, New Forest Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 2011.


The People’s Forest is supported by William Morris Gallery, the Barbican and public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England with additional support from the London Borough of Waltham Forest and The View, Epping Forest.


Epping Forest, which is managed by the City of London Corporation, is London and Essex’s largest open space, attracting nearly 5 million visits a year. The ancient woodland is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation.

@Gayle_ChongKwan and #ThePeoplesForest


About Anna Meredith and Jonathan Munro

Anna Meredith is a composer, producer and performer whose sound straddles the different worlds of contemporary classical, art pop, electronica, ambient installations and experimental rock. Her music has been performed everywhere from the BBC Last Night of the Proms to flashmob body-percussion performances in the M6 Services and broadcast on Radio 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6.


Jonathan Munro is an artist, curator and educator. In 2009 Jonathan founded TINT, an artists led organisation with no fixed location, working in unused spaces, galleries and with online platforms and in 2011 he was awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council grant. He is currently the co-director of the Tin Shed Gallery in Goldsmiths College.


About Cleary Connolly

Denis Connolly and Anne Cleary live and work between Paris and Ireland. Their artworks focus on perception of space and its relationship with the public. They design interactive environments using various technologies and engage with architecture and place. Works have been presented at the Pompidou Centre, Paris (2009); the Barbican, London (2010); the Casino, Dublin (2013); the Dead Zoo, Dublin (2014); and the German Gymnasium, London (2016).