Mecklenburgh Square Garden Project

The ongoing garden project at Mecklenburgh Square is conceived as providing the opportunity for selected artists to realise work in a wide range of media in the open air, exploring the possibilities that this context enables, calls for and provokes.

There have been three curated exhibitions, Group Portrait with Garden, Changeable Conditions and En Plein Air, and one invited (with Giorgio Sadotti and Liz Wright) exhibition, Outside of Outside.

With thanks to the Mecklenburgh Square Garden Committee and Goodenough College. Clair Joy


Notes of an Urban Pedestrian, 2019
Curated by Clare Stent and Clair Joy

 3 – 6 October 2019 
Anna Best, Alexandra Fontoura, Ellie Irons Clair Joy, Kubra Khadema, PolakvanBekkum, Hermoine Spriggs, Clare Stent

How beautiful a street is in winter! It is at once revealed and obscured. Here vaguely one can trace symmetrical straight avenues of doors and windows; here under the lamps are floating islands of pale light through which pass quickly bright men and women, who, for all their poverty and shabbiness, wear a certain look of unreality, an air of triumph, as if they had given life the slip, so that life, deceived of her prey, blunders on without them. But, after all, we are only gliding smoothly on the surface. The eye is not a miner, not a diver, not a seeker after buried treasure. It floats us smoothly down a stream; resting, pausing, the brain sleeps perhaps as it looks. From Virginia Woolf, ‘Street Haunting: A London Adventure’, 1927

Taking Virginia Woolf’s text ‘Street Haunting’ about walking through and observing the city as a starting point, artists have been invited to exhibit in the garden of Mecklenburgh Square as part of the Mecklenburgh Square Garden Project. Woolf lived for a short period in the square during WWII. Artists included can be seen to identify with the flâneur, psychogeography, the political, public space and the communal. Each artist’s work engages and responds to the urban in different ways.


Group Portrait with Garden, 2018
Curated by Clair Joy
September 6–9, 2018
Perienne Christian, Barbara Einzig, Benedict Ernst and Helen Morse-Palmer, David George, Alison Gill, Clair Joy, Florian Roithmayr, Karin Ruggaber and Anne Ryan, Clare Stent, Suzanne Treister
Taking as a starting point the communal nature of the garden, invited artists explore and draw on ideas to do with shared space and communality within many varied spheres such as technology, history, the unconscious, popular culture and nature. Works in the exhibition connect to the garden itself, responding to the  multi-levelled experience in different ways, opening up ideas and possibilities in relation to wider connections in terms  of shared space and communality.


En Plein Air, 2015
Curated by Clair Joy
September 5–8, 2015
Bill Burns, Rebecca Byrne, Liz Elton, Cecile Johnson-Soliz, Jaspar Joseph-Lester, Clair Joy, Onya McCausland,  Selma Parlour, Barbara Pfenningstorff, Hilary Powell, Kathy Prendergast, Babette Semmer, Tom Wolseley
In contemporary philosophical and geographical thought, space and time are not separate entities but interconnected and mutually defining. Configurations of space and time are unpredictable because they are always changing in ways that are difficult to anticipate. This unpredictable configuration is how the concept of ‘place’ is now understood. Because of the associations between ideas of  landscape and place, this exhibition proposes that landscape in art also reflects these new understandings. The artists exhibiting in En Plein Air can be seen to invoke different scales of inter-relatedness, a sense of activity or an unpredictability that reflects and relates to new ideas about landscape. 


Changeable Conditions, 2012
Curated by Clair Joy
October 11–14, 2012
Emma Biggs and Matthew Collings, Veronique Chance, Rosy Head, Clair Joy, Mike Marshall, Jasone Miranda-Bilbao, Janette Parris and Tariq Alvi and Chris Gregory, Katie Pratt, Giorgio Sadotti, Kate Smith, Clare Stent, Liz Wright
Lunchtime running performance by Veronique Chance 1 o’clock everyday.
The artists included in this show can be seen to approach the subject of landscape in different ways. The processes, activities and space of the square provide starting points for, or a contrast to, the work exhibited here.  The artists included make work that respond to and take up different ideas that the character of the square offers. The opportunity to exhibit our work in the open air provides a specific place and challenges to use as a sounding  board, or as an element of montage, to test work out. 


Outside of Outside, 2013

Invited by Clair Joy, Giorgio Sadotti, Liz Wright
Exhibition design Giorgio Sadotti
26–27 October, 2013
Rachal Bradley, Judith Dean, Machiko Edmondson, Ella Finer / Kitty Finer, Lucy Gunning, Clair Joy, Matt Hale, Simon Liddiment, Matthew Richardson, Giorgio Sadotti, Rebecca Scott, Jack Strange, Elizabeth Wright

Outside of Outside