As part of the proposed 2003/04 redevelopments and refurbishments of 155, Vauxhall Street, Gasworks and art/architecture team Boehm and Lang have developed a street level display area that will act as a permanent billboard on the front of the building. This feature entitled The Gas Board has been integrated into the front door design and will be used as a space for artists' commissions that will see high quality, new, innovative and experimental work being produced by four artists per year in collaboration with four local groups. The Gas Board project will be an exciting addition to Gasworks exhibition programme and it is hoped that due to the very public presence of the commissioned work, Gasworks will be able to attract passers by as well as specially targeted audiences.
Each of the commissions will be launched to coincide with the opening of an exhibition at Gasworks. Three of the commissioned artists will be selected by Gasworks, while the fourth commission will be an open submission which will target black and minority ethnic practitioners. The first of the selected artist for the billboard commission is Eileen Perrier.
Eileen Perrier is a photographer whose formal portraits bring together individuals from a broad spectrum, united by the specifics of their location and by a sense of ease, empathy and collaboration between artist and subject. Her exhibitions include Brixton Studio, Photographers' Gallery, London, 2002; Africa Today: The Artist and the City, Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, 2001;and The Black Hair and Beauty Show, Centre of Attention, London, 2001.
For the first Gas Board commission which will coincide with the re-launch of the building, Perrier has photographed local residents in the gallery during the refurbishment. Eileen was keen to invite people in so that they could see the building stripped bare and under construction and then come back to see the finished result! The photographic shoots took place on 3rd and 4th of April and 47 local residents took part. The images will be printed by Eileen and distributed to the participants and will be displayed on The Gas Board throughout the first two months of Gasworks re-opening. Three of the images will be selected by Eileen and distributed to Gasworks' mailing list during Mid-May.