Remember Me

King's Cross in Transition

This solo exhibition at the Guardian Media 2009 commemorated the disappearing buildings and imagined a fictional architectural future for the railway lands of King’s Cross and St. Pancras. When I made my first work about the area in around 2005, King’s Cross was in transition – and still is. Living locally, I’ve always loved its grittiness,  but then became fascinated by its transformation.

There’s an excitement and instability about building sites that is ambiguous and powerful: King’s Cross was a construction site that would take years to finish, with a growing and shifting population of residents and travellers. 

The sleeping and deserted ‘edge lands’ of the King’s Cross had yet opened up for redevelopment.. Described by Charles Dickens in Our Mutual Friend as ‘a tract of suburban Sahara, where tiles and bricks were burnt, bones were boiled, carpets were beat, rubbish was shot, dogs were fought, and dust was heaped by contractors’  the area had not been in full public use for many years. 

It was the ‘in between’ state that intrigued me. I roamed the streets, mostly at night, with sketchbook, pencil, rubber and camera, watching the pulling down and building up of places, trying to remember them before they vanished. The drawings were not a representational document, more a valediction for the loss of something long familiar. 

Most of their content was architectural. I intended to include more figures, in supporting, semi abstract roles, but came to see the buildings themselves as the real personalities: the warehouses, site offices, tenement blocks and towers of King’s Cross. Local places like The Lighthouse, Coal and Fish offices, Stanley and Culross Buildings are the lead characters in this dramatic transformation – the lamp posts, cctv cameras and bollards their supporting cast. 

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