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Laid to Rest

01 November 2010

Artist Serena Korda is asking the public to donate dust, collected from their houses, workplaces or other locations, to form an artwork that will be displayed as part of our spring 2011 exhibition, ‘Dirt: The filthy reality of everyday life’.

Korda's work is inspired by the commercialisation of waste in Victorian London, in particular the vast dust heaps which dominated the skylines at the top of Gray’s Inn Road.  Immortalised by Charles Dickens in 'Our Mutual Friend', the dust heaps supported a wide range of industries including the making of bricks.  Mud from the brick fields of Somers Town was mixed with the ash, cinders and rubbish from the dust heaps, recycling the discarded detritus and dirt of London into the material from which the expanding city was built.

Anyone can contribute to Laid to Rest, and each brick will carry an inscription with details about the dust from which it is made.  Participants can pick up a special dust collection envelope from Wellcome Collection, visit www.wellcomecollection.org/laidtorest  email donateyourdust@upprojects.com or call UP projects on 0207 377 9677. Each brick can have as much or as little dust in it as the donor desires. The bricks will be made over the next five months and will be delivered to Wellcome Collection for the Dirt exhibition.

Serena Korda says: "I need people's dust, from the tops of their book shelves to the corners of their bedrooms.  Lets face it, you don't have to look far to find a pile of dust gathering somewhere: I want people to collect it for me, pop it in a special dust collection envelope and become part of a time capsule.  Watch as I transform the almost invisible in to the palpable: a brick."

Ken Arnold, Head of Public Programmes at Wellcome Collection says: Ken Arnold, Head of Public Programmes at Wellcome Collection says: “Our relationship with dirt is fascinatingly ambivalent, and one we often choose to shy away from.  Serena Korda’s Laid to Rest reminds us that dirt is now and always has been part of daily life. By asking people to help make bricks from the dust of their surroundings, she is encouraging people to see that their surroundings are built from dust.”

The growing stack of dust-made bricks will be exhibited as part of the Dirt exhibition at Wellcome Collection and whilst on display a series of events will celebrate and ritualize them. The project will culminate in the burial of the bricks, returning them to the earth.

Dirt: the filthy reality of everyday life runs from 24 March – 31 August 2011.  The exhibition is part of Wellcome Trust's DIRT season, which will see events at selected dirty locations including music festivals and visitor attractions, as well as online.


Media contact
Tim Morley
Senior Media Officer
020 7611 8612

Serena Korda, born 1979, lives and works in London.  She studied Fine Art at Middlesex University and Printmaking at the Royal College of Art. Since 2004 she has been making public works, developed from encounters, conversations and the researching of abandoned histories.  Her works regularly encourage audiences to participate in events and performances that subvert everyday experiences.  As the work shifts between art and life it attempts to retell forgotten stories, questioning the importance placed on certain aspects of our history. Recent projects include; Decosa, Tradition, Stockholm keifer/pin, Camden Arts Centre, The Answer Lies at the End of the Line, Art on the Underground, The Library of Secrets Whitstable Biennale ‘08. Serena Korda is represented by Tintype, London

Laid to Rest has been commissioned by Wellcome Trust in association with UP projects, as part of Wellcome Trust’s DIRT season. Follow the project at http://donateyourdust.blogspot.com/.

UP Projects believes in challenging perceptions of what public art can be. Operating as if a gallery without walls, they are inspired by the complexities of the public realm to create a programme of artists' commissions, projects, strategies and multi-disciplinary events for a broad public audience. Since their first project in 2002, their work has consistently attracted considerable public attention. http://vm-obsidian/edit/www.upprojects.com

Wellcome Collection is a free visitor destination for the incurably curious. Located at 183 Euston Road, London, Wellcome Collection explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future. The building comprises three gallery spaces, a public events programme, the Wellcome Library, a café, a bookshop, conference facilities and a members' club.

Wellcome Collection is part of the Wellcome Trust, a global charity dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities; its breadth of support including public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. The Trust is independent of both political and commercial interests.




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