Mecklenburgh Square Garden Project

The Mecklenburgh Square Garden Project is conceived as providing the opportunity for invited artists to make work that can be seen in terms of a multi-faceted landscape model, using and connecting ideas which the garden invokes, makes possible and provokes.

The project will take place in six parts of which four exhibitions have already taken place: Notes of an Urban Pedestrian (co-curated with Clare Stent), 2019,  Group Portrait with Garden, 2018, En Plein Air, 2015, Changeable Conditions, 2012.

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

-Clair Joy

Ideas travel faster than light, 2020
Co-curated by Clair Joy and Jasone Miranda-Bilbao

September 26th to 29th, 11am – 4pm

Social (physical) distancing must be maintained and no group of more than six is allowed. 
Booking is not necessary.

For Ideas travel faster than light, part of an ongoing project, Jasone has invited ten artists working in India to write instructions for new work and Clair has invited ten artists working in the UK and Canada to make the works. The exhibition brings the idea and question of the complex material connection between places, people and shared space on a global scale to the garden.
As a modus operandi that sets up relations at distance, this exhibition could not have been better timed, and yet, it does not claim to point at the injustices of the world nor to offer a solution to the pressing problems that face us. Its relation to aesthetics and to what lies behind the artwork is somewhat different. It constitutes a relational configuration that stretches and contracts and  re-addresses the balance between the work of art and the ideas that lie behind it in a way that does not give authority to the power of one mode of production over the power of the other.
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 processes, activities and space of the garden provide starting points, or an element of montage, for the work exhibited. Changeable Conditions takes the idea of the landscape connection with weather as a starting point for inviting artists whose work uses formal changeability or unpredictability that can be seen to allude to those forces in wider spheres. Other artists create  and focus more overtly on changes in perception and political change as their subject. 


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