Phyllida Barlow RA: cul-de-sac

Phyllida Barlow reinterprets the cul-de-sac in vibrant colours and everyday materials in the RA's new David Chipperfield designed galleries

Words by Ellen Peirson

Phyllida Barlow RA cul-de-sac
Royal Academy of Arts
23 February – 23 June

Phyllida Barlow’s work has the power to take a space, absorb it and churn it up into something else entirely – reconfigured to become a colourful, enticing world, transformed by her raw, forest-like structures.

Having taken her immense sculptural projects around the world, from Tate Britain to Margate’s Turner Contemporary, from the Venice Biennale to Zurich’s Kunsthalle, they now land back in London to create new worlds in David Chipperfield’s new RA gallery spaces.

Barlow will place a series of large-scale installations using everyday materials, in the Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries, challenging not only our perception of architecture, but also sculpture as an artform. The site-specific work will embody Barlow’s own interpretations of the residential ‘cul-de-sac’. At the entrance to the installation, she will investigate the architectural form of the portal, creating a doorway with a thick cement shadow to act as a threshold to the new world she creates.

Constantly critiquing notions of ‘the monument and the monumental’, Barlow strives to create works that, although monumental in scale, shun the use of materials traditionally used for monuments.

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