As a core element of the exhibition Both Sides of Here: Artistic Encounters at the Threshold, several public sculptures across the city of London have been co-opted, intended to provide a series of Sculptural Encounters connected to the exhibition’s theme. Linked to the exhibition webpage by QR codes installed at each site, these public artworks encourage us to physically engage with thresholds as transformative spaces, and as sites of transition and change.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to renegotiate the way in which we experience the world. This shift demanded we take stock of our environments and re-consider them in relation to our own bodies. Looking at our surroundings from different perspectives, the familiar can be suddenly rendered unfamiliar. Works of public sculpture often go unnoticed, yet they play a major role in our individual and collective conscious or subconscious placemaking, acting as backdrops to our daily lives. In recent months, these works have become a lightning rod for public debate, revealing the glaring inequalities that permeate our cultural fabric.
We acknowledge that these works and their makers do not represent the diversity of their communities, and owe a debt to the Black Lives Matter activities who have demonstrated the urgency of interrogating the cultural objects that occupy our shared spaces.