A View from a Window - Camden Art Centre

Nature and its ephemeral magic are the focus of a major exhibition of work by influential British artist Shelagh Wakely (1932–2011).

Across all the galleries and the garden, the exhibition brought together works spanning the breadth of media Wakely worked with, including print, video, unfired clay sculptures, ceramics and exploratory drawings.

Wakely was a pioneer of installation art – at a time when many of her contemporaries in the UK were making bold, sculptural work, her practice was characterised by a delicate touch, tracing the shifting behaviour of light and observations of nature. Using organic materials inclined to weathering and deterioration, her sculptures conjure a sense of temporality and movement, in which seemingly simple images and forms evoke emotional and sensual experiences. Particular attention is paid to the thresholds between things; vessels, studies of negative space and aromas permeating boundaries between people and objects. Much of the work has been drawn directly from Wakely’s studio, including material experiments, working drawings and found objects, conveying the vitality with which she engaged with the world through making.

Wakely’s creativity was inspired and defined by the time and place where she worked. She spent long periods in Brazil, where she collaborated with artists such as Tunga and Tatiana Grinberg, who have been invited to offer guidance for this exhibition.

Conversation Pieces
In the garden, Wakely’s work was brought into conversation with artists with whom she shared creative concerns during her lifetime, such as Richard Deacon, Susan Hiller and Alison Wilding. In 1982, Wakely curated an exhibition at Camden Art Centre, Sculpture in the Garden, which included the work Wilding is recreating. Inspired by Wakely’s own garden in North London and a commission she undertook for St George’s Hospital in Tooting, an area will be devoted to plants with medicinal qualities, such as angelica, caraway, chervil, parsley and anise.

Conversation Pieces by Tom Clarke, Richard Deacon, Tatiana Grinberg, Carla Guagliardi, Susan Hiller, Antoni Malinowski, Bente Stokke, Amikam Toren, Tunga, Alison Wilding

The exhibition was developed with Wakely’s friend and collaborator, the Brazilian artist, Tunga, along with fellow artists Tatiana Grinberg and Antoni Malinowski and writer Sarah Kent.

Images Related events Supported by

Exhibition Talk: Tanya Barson

Wednesday 6 August, 7.00 – 7.45pm
Tanya Barson, Curator of International Art at Tate Modern discussed Shelagh Wakely’s work within the context of female artists working in Latin America.

STAGETEXT provided live speech-to-text services alongside this talk, increasing its accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing visitors.

Programmed alongside the exhibition Shelagh Wakely: A View from a Window


An Evening in the Garden

Wednesday 27 August, 7.00 – 8.30pm
Inspired by Shelagh Wakely’s interests in gardens, medicinal plants and agriculture, this evening provided a chance to enjoy Camden Art Centre’s garden whilst listening to a series of talks:

– Dr. Henry Oakeley, Garden Fellow at the Royal College of Physicians on the history of medicinal plants

– Dr. Susan Parnham, Head of Urbanism Centre for Sustainable Communities at the University of Hertfordshire on Garden Cities and the future of public space design for productive purposes

– Alexa de Ferranti of Lower Hewood Farm, Dorset, an organisation which produces meat and vegetables for sale, alongside a programme of events and residencies that take place in parallel with the everyday functioning of the farm. Alexa is Chair of the Landworkers’ Alliance and will talk about small-scale producers and family farmers using sustainable methods to produce food, fuel and fibre as well as the Landworkers’ Alliance campaigns for better policy for agro-ecology and food sovereignty.

The event included a free drink and a vegetable exchange from Lower Hewood Farm.

Full price: £10.00
Friends / Concession: £8.00 – Read more about becoming a Friend here


Exhibition Talk: Dr. Judith Collins

Wednesday 10 September, 7.00 – 7.45pm
Dr. Judith Collins, author of Sculpture Today, led a tour of the Shelagh Wakely exhibition, framing her work within sculpture and the transience of nature.


Talk: Vivien Lovell - Shelagh Wakely and the city

Wednesday 17 September, 7.00 – 8.00pm
Vivien Lovell, visual arts curator and founder of Modus Operandi, led a talk on Shelagh Wakely’s public artworks.

Modus Operandi brokers art and architecture commissions in the public realm.


Dance: Yong Min Cho - Catch the Flowers

Wednesday 24 September, 7.00 – 7.30pm
Choreographer and dancer Yong Min Cho restaged his dance Catch the Flowers, first performed at Shelagh Wakely’s studio in 2009 in response to her film Petals. Yong Min’s performance was accompanied by Korean musician Jeunghyun Choi.

#shelaghwakely / #CACWednesday

Costume sponsored by RE;CODE

Exhibition Talk: Gina Buenfeld

Sunday 28 September, 3.00 – 4.00pm
Gina Buenfeld, Exhibitions Organiser at Camden Art Centre led  a closing tour of the Shelagh Wakely exhibition.

Shelagh Wakely: A View from a Window