Five years ago, artist Andy Leek decided to bolster London commuters’ notoriously bleak collective mood by hiding inspirational notes in copies of Metro. Now, Leek has been tasked with bringing positivity to London as it awakens from lockdown, by delivering a summer of public art that will bring positivity and fun to the 67-acre estate.
“As my residency unfolds, I plan to install artwork throughout the estate for people to stumble upon, hopefully creating some serendipitous moments of delight,” comments Leek. “I’ll work closely with the local community from my on-site studio to create something meaningful and representative of their experience over the last few months. It’s my first time collaborating with a destination. King’s Cross is already well loved and full of wonderful nooks and crannies, beautiful architecture and existing artworks that I can’t wait to add to it.
Entitled This Much (see main picture), the first installation – inspired by recent social distancing guidelines -takes the form of 28 outstretched arms with messages of hope and love placed between them. Painted in day-glow paint or metallic glitter, other pieces appear unexpectedly in amongst the gardens and parks of King’s Cross, while a landmark 40 metre installation in eye catching laser-cut mirrored stainless steel becomes a focal point at Battle Bridge Place, adjacent to King’s Cross station.
“I’m looking to find silver linings in these difficult times,” adds Leek. “For all these months it’s been two metres of fear, loneliness and danger. I’m going to flip that into two metres of hope, positivity and humour with This Much. We all stayed apart to look after each other, to keep not only our loved ones safe but strangers we’ve never met. It’s so easy to take things for granted until we lose them, so it’s nice to hold on to that feeling of how much me missed loved ones as things being to return to some normality.”
Anthea Harries, Head of Assets King’s Cross, commented: “We are thrilled that Andy accepted our invitation to become our artist in residence over the summer. We’ve given him free rein of the King’s Cross estate – all 67 acres of it – and his artwork is going to welcome people back to the neighbourhood and bring a bit of joy to London as we come out of lockdown. We love Andy’s approach, and are excited to see how he is going to capture and respond to this moment in our history.”
Andy Leek’s residency will run through to September.