Richard Woods: Cardiff Rebuild
It brings in millions of tourists to the city every year; 2,000 years of history are hidden within its walls and tower. But this weekend Cardiff Castle will host visitors of a different kind as a group of internationally renowned artists focus their attention on the grade I listed building.
As part of Cardiff Contemporary, a citywide festival celebrating the city’s contemporary visual arts, London-based artist Richard Woods has created ‘Cardiff Rebuild’ a DIY-style ‘intervention’ for Wales’ leading heritage attraction. Inspired by the castle’s last owner the 3rd Marquess of Bute and architect William Burges, whose work transformed the Castle’s Norman structures into the gothic fantasy palace it is today, Woods has ‘decorated’ the Ward Wall Lodge which that stands inside the main entrance to the Castle on Castle Street.
The work is a playful nod to the highly decorative additions to the building. Woods is well-known around the world for his humorous twist on the cult of home improvements and DIY. In recent years he has clad part of New York’s City Hall in red brick, designed the interior for Comme des Garçons' flagship fashion store in Osaka, given a modern New York luxury home a mock Tudor overhaul and transformed the interior of Cary Grant's former Hollywood residence for its new owner. His works are held in major collections including the Saatchi Collection, Arts Council England, and the British Museum.
Hannah Firth, Director of Visual Art, who commissioned the work in response to the festival’s theme of Reveal/Conceal, said: “We liked the idea that we could somehow conceal an existing site to reveal something new. The Ward Wall Lodge at the Castle is right in front of the entrance and isn't really featured in any of the Castle's signage or visitor information so we were excited to create a new significance for the building.
A team of technicians have been working with guardians of the Castle to create a framework for the artwork which also protects the castle wall. Hannah explains: “It involved a fair bit of negotiation as we were working within an historic building. But we have had lots of support from the team at Cardiff Castle – who have amazed us with their enthusiasm and interest in making the project happen.”
‘We wanted to work with a significant and historic location in Cardiff to create an unexpected intervention – something to make people stop in their tracks, but also something that was temporary and would eventually become part of the rich history of the site.’
Woods’ work is one of three new artworks commissioned by the organisers of Cardiff Contemporary using the Castle’s historic buildings as a backdrop.
Chapter has also been working on a project within the historic Clock Tower that is being used for a sonic sound installation titled ‘In Place of Fear’. Musician and producer R.Seiliog (Robin Edwards) has teamed up with former Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci founder Richard James to create a series of sound pieces, which blend the speeches of Aneurin Bevan with ambient sounds from the city. The seven pieces will be broadcast daily from the Tower with a live performance on Saturday 4 October at 5pm.
Dominic from Luton has also created a bright red flag with the slogan ‘Call Mum’ which will fly from the castle’s ramparts alongside the flags of the world for the festival. Commissioned by Locws International for the Cardiff Contemporary Festival, the Call Mum idea comes from a note written in black biro on the artist’s left hand as a reminder to call home.
For more information about the artists and organisations visit:
Cardiff Contemporary Festival launches at 6pm on Friday, October 3 and runs until November 9.
Cardiff Contemporary 2014 is the largest scale visual arts festival The City of Cardiff Council has ever organised. Running from October 3 to November 9, it will transform the city centre, Cardiff Bay and neighbouring area into a city-wide public art gallery, using iconic and historic buildings and hidden tunnels as the backdrop for dozens of new art commissions, free events and workshops, guerrilla-style art activities based on the festival theme Reveal/Conceal.
Projects include a rooftop exhibition featuring the work of Welsh Turner Prize-nominee James Richards; celebrated Austrian artist Erwin Wurm’s One Minute Sculptures projected onto Cardiff Central Station; a ‘tap-mob’ event at Cardiff City Hall; an art hotel; a docklands sculpture trail, 04W an artist film festival and open-top art sight-seeing tours commissioned by Sam Perry. Co-ordinating events with partners including Artes Mundi 6, g39, the National Museum, Ffotogallery, Chapter, Made in Roath, Made by Hand, Craft in the Bay, Wales Millennium Centre, the Swn Festival, and the National Assembly, Cardiff Contemporary 2014 will create a world-class programme of artistic activity.
The initiative led by The City of Cardiff Council and co-funded by the Arts Council of Wales aims to recognise the city’s creative talent and encourage members of the public to get involved.
For more information about Cardiff Contemporary visit www.cardiffcontemporary.co.uk
Image: Richard Woods: Cardiff Rebuild, Cardiff Castle, 2014. Commissioned by Chapter for Cardiff Contemporary. Image courtesy Richard Woods Studio