An illuminated sculptural installation by Henry Coleman on the façade of the Royal Academy of Arts at 6 Burlington Gardens.
17 May — 7 June
The architectural intervention, entitled Scrape, is inspired by the iconic signage from the front of the nearby French Railways House on Piccadilly, the former London headquarters of French state railways SNCF.
A series of distinctive triangular, back-lit letters spelling out the word F-R-A-N-C-E originally adorned this building as part of the 1960s decorative scheme by the influential modernist architects Ernö Goldfinger RA and Charlotte Perriand.
These letters were recently removed by developers and have now been recreated by artist Henry Coleman specifically for this installation.
The letters have been installed on the façade of Burlington Gardens at the exact height and spacing of the originals, held in place using industrial trussing and straps. The obviously temporary placement of the letters on Burlington Gardens highlights the now permanent absence of the original signage on Piccadilly, appealing to spatial and architectural memory.
Henry Coleman is a second-year postgraduate student at the Royal Academy Schools. His practice centres on an interest in the decorative impulse and in the qualitative change of an object or space. The title of the work Scrape incorporates the early nickname for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, originally founded by William Morris and affectionately known as ‘Anti-Scrape’.