Running parallel to Loughborough Junction’s Coldharbour Lane, set back from the cigarette ends and bottle tops marking the tube entrance, stands the latest addition to south London’s growing network of art galleries and exhibition spaces, Coldharbour London. Lawrence Lek, aka electronic music producer Radiant Dragon, was one of the artists christening the freshly white-washed walls on the opening night a few days ago with his new work, Twins. It’s a beautiful, invigorating piece, surprising in its scale – this photo doesn’t really do it justice – and inviting a playful response. You can wander between the two ‘twins’, stand underneath their embrace like a shelter, explore the shadow patterns their tails cast. If you’re free this evening (until 6pm) or around tomorrow day-time, it’s really worth popping along.
Where did the idea for TWINS come from?
Lawrence Lek: The idea’s been evolving for a long time – I’ve been trying to create an immersive environment, a kind of sculpture that you can inhabit and experience from the inside and outside. Bringing together the artificial and natural worlds, really. I had an accident years ago where titanium plates were attached so that my bones could regrow properly. In the years since, I think I’ve been really preoccupied with the process of ‘osseo-integration’, combining natural and man-made materials to explore the growth of skeleton and skin under the effect of gravity.
Besides the psychological aspect of it, the playfulness of natural forms is also really important. People have likened the Twins to floating wings, breaking waves, and two psychedelic lovers. I suppose it is all those things, depending on your point of view. After all, we all share the same biological form and we all have a close affinity to nature.
What inspired your move from music to art?
Lawrence Lek: It’s something that’s just emerged normally. I see it all as a process of composition, and sometimes ideas come through in different mediums. In May I did a project called ‘Drones’, a sound installation at Urban Fog – a temporary teahouse in Dalston that my friends at Atelier ChanChan created. I placed two hacked speakers at opposite ends of the room, playing an ambient sound loop that slowly panned between front and back, heightening the depth of the space. It felt pretty new age, like sitting inside of an FM3 Buddha Machine while drinking tea.
I also wanted to distance myself as a performer, which is something I started to do last year with my Radiant Dragon shows – I only performed when I could incorporate video, so that I could have freedom to focus on live soundscapes. So my friend Yearning Kru mixed his youtube-melting videos live while I improvised on guitar and electronics. I really liked it, but just haven’t had the time to continue.
What’s next for you?
Lawrence Lek: Besides the Twins at Coldharbour London, I’ve got another exhibition at Arcadia Missa gallery in Peckham opening on Friday 24th June. Then I’m running ‘3013’, a three-week Installation workshop at the Architectural Association that imagines London a thousand years from now.
On the music front, I’ve just about finished my Radiant Dragon album. So that should be out later this year, hopefully in the not-too-distant future. Probably after ‘3013’…