Two offices in London currently have art exhibitions for the staff who work there, but less well known is that they are also both open to the public to visit as well.
The exhibition in the two buildings is by Anna Ray, who has been inspired by her ancestors who were early Huguenot refugees who moved to this part of London as weavers and textile makers. The name of the exhibition shared between the two office blocks, On Tenterhooks comes from the hooks used to fasten cloth to a drying frame, known as a Tenter.
The exhibition at 99 Bishopsgate focuses on the past and present process of textile making and includes two works, Capture and Weave, which are on view for the first time ever having been made during the lockdown. If you’ve ever pulled a loose thread from a jumper, you’ll recognise the inspiration for the tangled lines that make up Weave.
Both works were acquired by Brookfield Properties as a gift for the Crafts Council Primary Collection as part of the Brookfield Properties Crafts Council Collection Award 2021.
Most of her work is not planned but emerges as she starts work on a basic idea and develops it not always knowing exactly how it will end up. Also, the artworks often change depending on where they are shown. The two amorphous blobs of coloured “cotton buds” is normally seen hanging flat on a wall. Here they’ve been pilled up in a style that’s begging for a giant eye to be added and given a starring role in a 1970s episode of Doctor Who.
The display is bright and colourful, aiming to give a bright welcome back to people returning to the office following the lockdown, and that idea of bold colours is being replicated at art displays set up by Brookfield Properties in their other properties in the City.
A short walk away is the Aldgate Tower, and here four additional wall-mounted works of art are on display, all based around the use of fabrics.
They’re based on carpets, having been made from the tufted carpet top cloth samples from a carpet weaving company, and are inspired by the tangled threads that the artist collected from the carpet factory floor that were discarded during the weaving process.
Both exhibitions are open until 3rd September and are open daily from 8am-6pm. Just go in and let the reception desk know you are looking at the art, and you’re left to wander around as you like.
Being in offices instead of formal art galleries gives the displays an air of a hidden secret, and it’s quite fun to wander past and suddenly drag your companion inside these seemingly private spaces to have a look.