John Frankland - BOULDER

Two Hackney green spaces are soon to become permanent homes to two massive pieces of solid granite, each weighing up to 100 tonnes and measuring over four metres high. Boulder (Shoreditch Park) and Boulder (Mabley Green) together form Boulder, an ambitious public realm sculpture project by John Frankland. The launch of this work marks the completion of the second phase of the regeneration of Shoreditch Park and will be a focal point for this year’s Shoreditch Festival.

Jutting out from the urban park landscape, these two rugged monoliths will appear as if they had just landed, but their arrival at their respective park settings has involved a highly co-ordinated taskforce of engineers, designers, planners, risk assessors and project managers.

John Frankland is known for his large-scale and pared-down sculptural installations where the materials used and the architectural or physical space that the work inhabits is carefully integrated, and where considerations around weight and weightlessness are often explored. Boulder continues these preoccupations, yet the physical mass of these rocks belies their essential modesty as sculptural works in parkland settings. His use of granite is a conscious reference to the traditional material for statuary or monuments as favoured by the sculptor or stonemason. But Frankland has elected to leave the rocks as they were found in the quarry, bearing the scars of their manufacture by the explosion that blasted them from the rock face. Frankland’s boulders owe more of a debt to the Duchampian Readymade or the Neolithic standing stone, than to the types of sculpture and statuary that are more commonly experienced within civic parks.

In addition to their presence in the Hackney urban landscape as subtle yet iconic landmark works, Frankland intends that people should engage with the boulders in a direct and physical way through rock climbing, or ‘bouldering’. A keen and experienced climber himself, Frankland considers physical contact with the rock as a way of energising or activating the work, as well as a way of playfully debunking the notion of those sculptures in park settings, which are often fenced off or prominently labelled as ‘not to be touched’. During the Shoreditch Festival, from August 16th to 24th, climbing competitions and taster sessions have been organised. Afterwards, these sessions will be followed by free climbing classes for local young people into the autumn.
John Frankland - BOULDER


Event Title: John Frankland - BOULDER
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