Sunday 31 August 2014 is the last day that Lucy Sparrow’s felt filled Cornershop installation in Bethnal Green, London will be open for business. COVER paid a visit.
Occupying the corner of a residential street between scaffolding clad council flats on one side and the creatively gentrified stretch of Columbia Road on the other, the month long show on Wellington Row has proved overwhelmingly popular. Indeed there were more customers here on a Friday morning than is usual for a standard Cornershop. Sparrow played the role of shopkeeper behind the counter, industriously constructing more textile boxes of painkillers for the drugs section. Viewers lingered and engaged in conversation, marvelling at the work and the concept. The tactile nature of the fluffy stock is evident from the need for multiple signs requesting that viewers do not touch, including one which asks: “Would you touch in the Tate?”
Each multiple product in stock has been hand stitched and decorated by the artist herself in limited editions of 10 or 40 (depending on size) and all are for sale. Marmite and Kit Kats (both standard and chunky) are sold out. Even the till has been bought and, rumour has it, that a very well known figure of the British art scene is in talks to buy the shop and any unsold produce in it’s entirety once it has made a month long appearance in Brighton from 3 October 2014. In the tradition of Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst and Marcel Duchamp; Lucy Sparrow plays with the uncanny and repetition of the familiar to create an accessible and surreally satisfying art experience.
What’s next for Sew Your Soul? A stateside Convenience Store, Sparrow style is expected to hit the streets of New York in Summer 2015.