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Artists Baker and Borowski will take over a section of Warwick Road with an installation based on Victorian Pleasure Gardens
Baker & Borowski will take over part of Warwick Road with an installation based on Victorian pleasure gardens | Image: Baker & Borowski

Kensington & Chelsea Art Week is doing loads of cool outdoor stuff this year

There are sculpture trails, neon art and a pop-up eighteenth-century-inspired ‘pleasure garden’

By
Chris Waywell
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Kensington + Chelsea Art Week (KCAW) is back from June 21 to July 4. As usual, it’s a ton of public installations, art trails, murals, events and talks, with influences in 2021 ranging from Oscar Wilde to Vivienne Westwood, via The Beatles.

In a strong post-Covid (if that’s not premature) move, one of the themes of KCAW this year is ‘Reimagine’. Specifically, the ways that public spaces can be used for ‘conversation and exchange’. Some of the stand-out pieces on this theme include Zak Ové’s ‘Autonomous Morris’, a sculptural stack of VW Beetle and Morris Minor bonnets and boots, and artists Baker & Borowski, who will take over a section of Warwick Road with a psychdelicacy based on the local pleasure gardens of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Netflix’s ‘Big Flower Fight’ contestant Yan Skates will also be creating a large-scale installation at the King’s Road Curve.

Zak Ové, ‘Autonomous Morris’
Zak Ové, ‘Autonomous Morris’

Since it launched in 2018, KCAW has seen more 450,000 visitors wandering around the borough in an arty fashion. It was a big hit in 2020, despite everything, and has clearly put a lot of thought into what Londoners want from this year’s event. A good example is Lauren Baker’s ‘poetic light typography’ installations, which will be displayed in unexpected locations across Chelsea, taking inspiration from notable local icons such as Vivienne Westwood, The Beatles and Oscar Wilde.

Baker & Borowski’s summer wonderland is planned to be colourful and energetic, but also family-friendly. Drawing inspiration from historical pleasure gardens, the artists say they to reinvigorate these gardens’ legacy, with trees to give shade, and chrysanthemums, red hot pokers, lavender, cornflowers, tansy, allium and poppies for vibrancy. We can’t find any mention of the sexual liaisons that the original gardens were notorious for. So maybe just take a blanket and use your discretion.

There are literally hundreds of arty things taking place across the borough, so check out all the details, walking maps etc here. Stay safe, man!

Kensington & Chelsea Art Week, Jun 21-Jul 4. Free. Full details at www.kcaw.co.uk.

There’s a brand new park with waterfalls and slides in Elephant & Castle.

You should also go and see the new 2021 Serpentine Pavilion.

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