A Mural-Sized Photograph Of The Balfron Tower

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 165 months ago

Last Updated 12 October 2010

A Mural-Sized Photograph Of The Balfron Tower

Balfron Tower. Photo / Liamatom
Poplar's Balfron Tower, the stubbier, slightly older sister of Ernő Goldfinger's Trellick Tower, already has a reputation as a hub for the arts: the Bow Arts Trust regularly holds events there. Now the Brutalist building's exterior is to be the subject of a large-scale photographic project by Australian artist Simon Terrill.

As part of his ongoing series Crowd Theory, Terrill will use a medium format film camera to capture a detailed large-scale photograph of the Balfron and its residents. Using lighting rigs, a soundtrack and a reflector screen, the artist will spend an hour behind the camera, taking no more than ten photographs, and choosing just one for the final print. Those living in the Tower are invited to register on the website and take part in the action. What that "action" might be, however, is up to them: Terrill encourages participants to act as they will.

Terrill has hitherto worked only in his native Melbourne, but a chance reading of J.G. Ballard's High Rise led him to consider the tower block as a subject. Though eschewing the political aspect in discussing his work, it's significant that Terrill chose the Balfron over the Trellick: while the latter is established as a des-res for art and design-obsessed folk in Notting Hill, the former, stuck out in unfashionable Poplar, hasn't quite made the same transition. Yet as the Olympics approach, the area is likely to change drastically, and the Tower along with it. The Balfron Project might be among the last records of E14 before the burgeoning wave of gentrification breaks.

The Balfron Project takes place on November 18th, at the Balfron Tower, Poplar, E14 0QS. See more of Simon Terrill's work on his website.