THE MAJESTY By Heywood & Condie
Old Vic Tunnels, Waterloo, London SE1
7 June 2012
'Glamourlands' was the first installation ever to be commissioned by the RHS for the Chelsea Flower Show. It was conceived both as homage to the natural beauties of the Dorset coastline and comment on the way such glories are portrayed in a super-shiny, magazine world. Landscape is, so often, merely one stylised component in a fashion shoot - the Jurassic coast as soap opera. Does everything really have to be this perfect?
And now, just as Chelsea deconstructs itself for another year, so 'Glamourlands' has been dismantled and re-incarnated as 'The Majesty' - an installation that takes the core components of the original piece but re-places them in a subterranean universe.
The coastline still inspires awe but now, instead of native wild flowers, its surfaces are coated with artificially forced elements - gold, carbon, anthracite - and colonised by the natural products of the dark and the damp. A new form of life - and glamour - replaces the traditional vision so beloved of Chelsea and this evolved beauty is not degenerating but constantly mutating. Its novel colours and sounds and smells ooze outwards into the night.
To one side, in a candle-lit greenhouse, specialist mycologists have been invited to cultivate living moulds which gradually spread, like a vast living carpet, across the underworld towards the scepter'd isle. Will the human-induced cushion enhance the natural beauty or devour it?
In a candle-lit tunnel, visions become distorted and ambiguous. 'The Majesty' will evolve over the next six months during which the microscopic and the overlooked will be cultivated and enhanced. As Britain spends the summer celebrating its glorious, and glamorous, heritage, so this monumental work muses on the cycles of beauty, pomp, ritual and inevitable decay. A meditation inspired by current affairs, 'The Majesty' hopes to decorate, question and seduce.
About Heywood & Condie
Tony Heywood & Alison Condie describe their work as 'horticultural installation art'. Their area of interest principally concerns new ways of engaging with and representing landscape and nature. The combination of Heywood’s background in horticulture and anthropology and Condie’s in botany and zoology has resulted in the formulation of a unique series of art works, which are often hard to classify.
Their practice crosses many genres including land art, sculpture, horticulture, painting, video and performance and individual works can often synthesize elements from all of these disciplines in their final realization. Their works have been shown both nationally and internationally and vary in scale from large-scale public commissions covering many acres to smaller gallery-based work including micro landscapes in petri dishes. A notable feature of the work is the inclusion of living plant material. www.heywoodandcondie.com
The Old Vic Tunnels
Hidden beneath Waterloo Station lies 30,000 square feet of unused railway vaults, a labyrinth of mystical tunnels.
Fast becoming London’s leading underground Arts venue, The Old Vic Tunnels has seen indie phenomenon
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros create 5 nights of the Wild West on Mars; the legendary New York Dolls
perform; Secret Cinema transform the space into an Algerian market town; a 5 day festival of comedy and
improvisation; a season with the decadent Boom Boom Club, a summer term from the National Youth Theatre
of Great Britain; Universal’s Yellow Lounge and a Michelin Star pop-up restaurant. There is an Underground
Artist scheme with a resident Photographer, Graffiti Artist, Designer and soon Filmmaker and DJ Veuve Clicquot
recently sponsored the build of a brand new piano bar which opened outside The Screening Room in March and
Bloomberg continue to provide support as The Old Vic Tunnels Volunteers Partner.
‘The Majesty’ Opening Times:
Partial installation (work in evolution) on display for Enlightenment Cafe
event 31 May – 3 June 6.30pm – 10.00pm
Full installation open 10 June – 8 July Thursdays 5.00 pm – 10.00 pm,
Sundays 11.00 am – 4.00 pm and for pre-arranged group bookings
Closed for the Olympic period re-opening again for September – October