ART BLOG – GROUNDWORK
Like most visitors to Porthleven, Cornwall, I presumed the dominant granite building that was iconically photographed in the first of the 2014 storms, was a church. It certainly survived the pounding destruction of the biblically proportioned waves as they engulfed its mighty clock tower again and again as if it were defended by a deity.
Well, it’s not. It is, in fact, a snooker club. The Bickford Smith Institute was originally founded as a library in 1884 but changed status in 1911 when two snooker tables were installed.
Excitingly it is now open to the general public for a three week period as the site of a Groundwork Art installation by Chris Fite-Wassilak and Sophie Mallett.
These two London based artists have introduced various sculptural and narrative elements to the decaying building, that is desperately in need of renovation. Chris Fite-Wassilak is a writer and critic based in London. Sophie Mallett is a London-based artist. Her practice is concerned with forms of belonging and exclusion and through installation, she pursues a practice concentrating on the connections between history and place.
The decay of the windows caused by the corrosive sea salt has provided the inspiration for two interesting screen-printed textile cloths which now adorn the snooker tables. While the perishing wall surfaces are littered with fascinating early century photographs and stories. They are timely reminders that if this building does not receive funding for its restoration soon it’s history will be lost.