Camdonian Restored - Camden Art Centre

A project reimagining and rethinking the role of public art with school pupils in Camden.

Situated at the corner of Lincoln’s Inn Fields in Central London Camdonian is a 1980 public artwork by renowned British sculptor Barry Flanagan. A striking 15-foot wave cut from a single sheet of steel, Camdonian has been visibly marked by four decades of inner-city life.

Exposed to the elements since its installation over forty years ago, with rust, pollution, graffiti, wildlife and skateboarders all leaving their mark, the sculpture became an unknowing record of environmental, human and non-human interference. In 2022 Camdonian was lovingly restored by Rupert Harris Conservation and returned to its original glory as envisaged by Flanagan. The weathering effects of time, the restoration process and Camdonian’s enduring presence in central London are the starting points for this project which invites pupils to propose and build their own maquettes and question “Who owns public art and what is it for?”

The project is led by artist Millie Layton who produces bold playful sculptures often inspired by the natural environment in a range of styles and materials. Millie brings her knowledge of contemporary sculpture, fabrication and production to guide the participants to think about their relationship to their surroundings and how city life, art and nature intertwine.

Using Flanagan’s playful material manipulation and the creative processes of design and fabrication the project encourages young camdonians to think about the future of their city and the role art can play within it.

The project is delivered in partnership with Camden Spark and Camden Council, and will conclude in Summer 2023 with the creation of a resource detailing the project and activities that will be distributed to local schools.

Images The Artists

The Artists

Millie Layton is a London based sculptor who recently finished her postgraduate at the Royal Academy Schools and previous to this completed her undergraduate at The Glasgow School of Art in Sculpture and Environmental Art. Her work dredges through form and feeling, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly. It is a mutilation of objects, a distortion of what we are used to. Materiality is a driving force of the work, using materials such as live worms and the vocals of a child actor singing funeral songs, nothing is off bounds. Recent shows, past and future include: APT Introduces: Millie Layton and Eleni Zervou, APT Gallery London 2023, The Sound of a Falling Tree Tuesday – Friday Gallery Valencia 2022, Royal Academy Schools Show – Royal Academy of Arts 2022, No Time Like The Present – Public Gallery 2020. Recent awards include: APT Fenton Arts Trust Fenton Art Trust funded APT residency and exhibition- 2022, Chelsea Arts Club Trust Award, 2022 Stannus Grey Robinson Travel Prize – 2020.

Barry Flanagan (1941–2009) was born in Prestatyn, North Wales. The artist lived and worked in London and Dublin, and died in Santa Eulalia del Río, Ibiza, Spain. Flanagan’s work has been internationally exhibited in institutions and public spaces and is held in prestigious collections worldwide.One of Britain’s most inventive and charismatic sculptors, Flanagan worked across a range of media and styles from the 1960s onwards until his early death in 2009. His practice encompassed not only solid materials, but also elusive forms such as daylight, sound and the absence of it. Early on in his career he received international critical acclaim for his inventive approach to materials, which aligned him with new art practices and the emergent art movements of Arte Povera, Land Art and Process Art. From 1972, reassessing the function of public sculpture, Flanagan began to explore more traditional materials and methods, working with stone, sheet metal and bronze. He experimented with ambiguous forms that bridged the mythological and the real. Amongst these, the hare – with its rich symbolism from both Christian and pagan mythology, shamanic properties, vital power and elegance – caught the artist’s imagination in a way which would shape the rest of his career.

Barry Flanagan established the estate during the last year of his life following his diagnosis with Motor Neuron Disease. It was his intention that his work continue to be exhibited and that resources, including his archived papers and a library of his books, be made available to researchers and enthusiasts alike. The estate believes in the significance of Flanagan’s work and is dedicated to a full exploration of his artistic practice and its contributions to visual culture with the aim of inspiring and enabling others to do the same.

Supported by

Camden Sparks
Camden Council