Down by the docks in the East End, in one of London’s most amazing spaces – the dark and cavernous Boiler House of The Wapping Project – artist/architect/10 Corso Como designer Kris Ruhs has installed a disorientating environment of installations that hang from the shadows of the so high ceilings.
Click images to enlarge.
When we walk into the room our view’s obscured by painted blinds of hand-cut aluminium strips that block out the light. As we descend the stairs we see a gothic ceramic castle of illuminated thorns, towering above us on a steel structure almost ten metres up (“a little danger is not so bad,” laughs Kris), surreally reflected in a polished steel seat that spins underneath it like a twisted teacup ride. And last of all there’s a confusing labyrinth, constructed out of shredded rubber truck tyres from Morocco, that descends from the sky and spirals inwards and outwards. Kris is one of i-D’s best mates so before he came over to London we made a short film in his studio and then, prior to his amazing opening party hosted by Wapping Project Owner, Jules Wright and Carla Sozzani, we asked him for a tour of his fantastic world.
Have you ever worked in a space like this before? It’s a beautiful space, it’s got great proportions, it’s got great history. My first attraction is that the place is beautiful empty, so to put something in here that enhances it is even better.
How did you decide what to make? How I look at the space and how I move around the space dictates more or less what I do. It’s dark, so I wanted to throw a little element of light in it, and then you’re looking up always, so I suspended every piece. Now I’m working at putting the place together in a sense, sitting in here for three or four days. I make a lot of the components, then I come to the space, and then I work in the space. The blinds are there to give a little bit of mystery, because the Boiler House is obviously beautiful when you come in. For the month I’m here it becomes my space, and to make it a little bit mine I make a little bit of mystery.
The chandelier above us looks very dangerous? It can be threatening, but it depends. If it fell on you… but it’s suspended very well! A little danger is not so bad. A little threatening is not a bad thing.
What about this chair underneath it? It’s a seat that I wanted to make, where you can reflect what’s going up. You’ll get a sense of the space, and it gives you an option to lay down and spin around.
And there’s a film… The original idea – when Jules came to my studio in Milan – was that she liked it a lot, and her first question was, ‘How can I bring this studio here to my space?’ I said, literally, ‘We can’t.’ I’ve been working there for so many years, and a studio is a studio, and I’m not from the theatre so I don’t want to do a theatre piece. So she sent a filmmaker to make a film, and she said, ‘I’ll let you go build your stuff, and then we’ll figure out how it works.’ I think it’s the best way to work, I want to be nicely surprised too!
Kris Ruhs: Landing on Earth is open at The Wapping Project until the 21st of October.