Denman & Gould to Work on Public Art Commission

Earlier this year ‘a space’ arts were approached to commission a new public artwork at Cumberland Place in Southampton where a new development to be known as Southampton Crossings is currently taking shape.

Following a call for Expressions of Interest, five artists where then invited to submit proposals with the successful proposal put forward by artist duo Denman & Gould being selected by the developer.

We’ve caught up with Eleanor Goulding to find out a more about them and what their proposal entails for this landmark Southampton development.

Who are you and what’s your practice?

We are an artist duo who have worked collaboratively since we met in 2011. We were introduced to each other at the premiere of artist film maker, Ben Rivers’ ‘Two Years at Sea’ at the BFI Southbank.

Our work spans across applied arts, architecture and fine art. Our working method varies but the constant element is the continued bouncing of ideas back and forth between us. Within that we are both makers, Russell has a specialist interest in materials and techniques, whilst I (Eleanor) tend to focus on wider themes and concepts.

Where are you based?

Our studio is housed in a beautiful converted church in Dorset which we set up in 2014, after moving from Brighton. The studio has a dual purpose; housing our studio as well as having a community focus. During our time there we have programmed a series of screenings, workshops, talks and live performances. It’s great to be working on such an exciting project so nearby in Southampton as our work expands into public sculpture.

Tell us a bit about your proposal for Cumberland Place.

Our proposal for Cumberland Place is a permanent floor piece, making an interactive and colourful courtyard space for students. Our aim is to provide an inspired meeting point that acts as a transitional space between students’ homes and the city.

The work makes direct references to the sites’ former use as an observatory. We mapped 11 constellations onto a grid to create a colourfully abstract pattern with each constellation being represented by a different colour. The work references the architectural forms used in observatories, in particular the geodesic structures invented by Buckminster Fuller, using the geometric motif of the equilateral triangle.

The constellations form a pattern that can be picked out from above or at floor level presenting interactive information as well as a beautiful, contemplative and abstract installation that provides seating.

We wanted the colour to act as a celebration of education and the possibilities that holds. The colour palette we are using is taken from historical British Geological Survey Maps of Southampton, the hand painted index of colours used in these maps were developed by artists to be used as standardised colours. We wanted to bring an aspect of this historical process to a contemporary way of making. We are currently in an exciting development period casting samples using strong but subtle colours inspired by earth pigments and these beautiful historical maps.