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Ed Kluz recreates the lost splendour of London’s historic facades

Reflective of fleeting pleasures and pageantry, Facades by artist Ed Kluz captures the same sense of celebration for which some of the London’s historic facades were designed.

by Zohra Khan Oct 04, 2019

British artist, illustrator and printmaker, Ed Kluz, whose multi-disciplinary practice explores contemporary perceptions of the past through the re-imagining of historic landscapes, is presenting his third exhibition, Facades, at the John Martin Gallery in London. On display are a series of paintings of London’s historic facades whose designs are inspired by pageantry, celebration and pleasure. In these series of paintings, Kluz has sought to capture the same sense of celebration that these elaborate architectural schemes were originally designed for, but which, unfortunately, were left no more than fragile, temporary exterior surfaces.

Pitzhanger Manor Ealing 2019 originally designed by British architect Sir Joane Saone as his country home | Facades by Ed Kluz | John Martin Gallery | STIRworld
Pitzhanger Manor Ealing 2019 originally designed by British architect Sir Joane Saone as his country home Image Credit: Ed Kluz and John Martin Gallery

The paintings range from the Arches of Triumph constructed for the coronation of James I in 1604 to the Ranelagh Rotunda, and unexecuted plans for a new Whitehall Palace by distinguished English architect, Inigo Jones (1573-1652). Each work left an indelible impression in London’s cultural history despite being either short-lived or existing only as engravings and drawings.

The exhibition Facades has been divided into three parts. First is a set of ink drawings of the Gates of London, followed by an ambitious series recreating some of the Triumphal Arches designed by Stephen Harrison to celebrate the coronation of James I in London in 1604. Lastly, a group of large-scale oil and collage panels render some of London’ most famous buildings, from the Whitehall Palace, the Royal Exchange to the Ranelagh Rotunda.

A peek into a few paintings on view from the exhibition-

Arch of Londinium – one of the eight temporary Arches of Trimuph created for the coronation of James I in 1604 | Facades by Ed Kluz | John Martin Gallery | STIRworld
Arch of Londinium – one of the eight temporary Arches of Trimuph created for the coronation of James I in 1604 Image Credit: Ed Kluz and John Martin Gallery
Ranelagh Rotunda - the centrepiece to the elaborate Ranelagh Gardens was a huge rococo rotunda, which housed a lofty circular assembly hall bordered by two tiers of boxes | Facades by Ed Kluz | John Martin Gallery | STIRworld
Ranelagh Rotunda - the centrepiece to the elaborate Ranelagh Gardens was a huge rococo rotunda, which housed a lofty circular assembly hall bordered by two tiers of boxes Image Credit: Ed Kluz and John Martin Gallery
The Royal Exchange 1671 – Britain’s first commercial building for retail of alcohol and goods, derived its form from the Antwerp Bourse | Facades by Ed Kluz | John Martin Gallery | STIRworld
The Royal Exchange 1671 – Britain’s first commercial building for retail of alcohol and goods, derived its form from the Antwerp Bourse Image Credit: Ed Kluz and John Martin Gallery
Whitehall Palace by architect Inigo Jones opened in 1622 as the new banqueting hall for James I | Facades by Ed Kluz | John Martin Gallery | STIRworld
Whitehall Palace by architect Inigo Jones opened in 1622 as the new banqueting hall for James I Image Credit: Ed Kluz and John Martin Gallery
The Royal Fireworks depicted the grand firework display held in Green Park in late 1748 that marked the end of hostilities between France and Britain | Facades by Ed Kluz | John Martin Gallery | STIRworld
The Royal Fireworks depicted the grand firework display held in Green Park in late 1748 that marked the end of hostilities between France and Britain Image Credit: Ed Kluz and John Martin Gallery

With Facades, Ed Kluz realises that same memory of festivity and decorative pleasure, though ephemeral and impermanent in their architecture, associated with the history of these features.

The exhibition is on view at John Martin Gallery in London till October 5, 2019.

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About Author

Zohra Khan

Zohra Khan

A formal education in architecture combined with an avid interest in architecture journalism and design criticism led Khan to professionally venture into writing and research. She has worked in design communication for more than two years, generating content for mondo*arc india journal. When not writing, she kicks back by dabbling on social media for STIR.

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