A few weeks ago we launched Cornelia Parker's new work, One More Time on the Terrace Wires at St Pancras. At the same time we asked schools if they wanted to take part in a competition "Terrace Wires in the Community" in which students are encouraged to draw, paint or make a collage inspired by the art work which is hanging on the Terrace Wires. The prize for the winning student was a meeting with Cornelia and a trip to the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition with their class mates.
This year many of the entries took their inspiration from the clocks that are integral to Cornelia's piece (it is a full scale replica of the original DENT London clock that hangs at the south end of the station but in the reverse colours - a photographic negative as she says). So we had clocks - digital and analog galore. Others were inspired by the concept of time - and even by the notion of time and space - so we had several which showed spacemen shooting through the sky surrounded by stars and planets. The winning entry was by Charlie Bacon from the John Wallis Academy in Ashford and depicted clocks - both digital and analog - an arrow hanging in blank space and a mixture of collage and paint. Cornelia and I as the judges were unanimous in our decision that she was the winner.
We met the class at St Pancras to award the prize and to discuss their visit to the Royal Academy of Arts. One of the other students and I got chatting and he told me about his favourite pieces in the Summer Exhibition. We found we were in agreement - we had both enjoyed the work of Tom Phillips RA who has taken an old three pence book and altered every page - he has worked on it over 50 years and is continuing to revise and develop each page. The title of his work is "A Humument" - contracting the title of the book which he has used - "A Human Document". It is both delicate and intriguing because you find yourself drawn to the words as well as the treatment that Phillips has given to the page. We both found it compelling.
Amongst the other standout pieces were the coloured walls of the main galleries - the brainchild of the show's coordinator Michael Craig-Martin RA who is known for the very vivid colours in his work. I liked the challenge to the classical architecture of those popping colours - the students of the John Wallis Academy seemed less interested however and almost missed the psychedelic work on the staircase by Jim Lambie which welcomes you into the building - "Zobop".
Cornelia's work on the Terrace Wires (and her four pieces at the Summer Exhibition) are very much the antidote to all this bright colour - monochrome. They are fascinating though and a family trip to London this summer could do worse than visit both St Pancras International and the Royal Academy to see those contrasts. It certainly inspired the entrants to Terrace Wires in the Community, and Cornelia and I thank them all for allowing us to see their work.