Adam Dant’s is the first of four artist projects in the new series ‘The Homecoming’ commissioned in advance of Bloomberg’s relocation to the City Of London. The other artist include Gayle Chong Kwan, David Blandy and Melanie Manchot.
Adam Dant’s ‘The Budge Row Bibliotheque’ encapsulates two millennia of the everyday life and times of Budge Row, the lost street of the City of London.
Drawing on the notion of mapping, visible and invisible connections are traced through the rich history of the City of London. Tracing a narrative construction of space, time and place through its past and its current inhabitants, ‘The Budge Row Bibliotheque’ shifts and expands our historical gaze.
Visual representations of historical documents support the depiction of randomly interconnected historical anecdotes, inscriptions, cartographies, views and vistas. All of these elements collide in a vast drawing which folds time upon time, to create a passage through this lost part of The City of London. Operating like an exploded image library of historical data the direct encounter between the viewer and a work of art is constructed with minimal means, a single brush and bottle of sepia ink.
Adding another dimension to this cartographic romp though time is a scale model of a green cabman’s shelter, a quaint anachronism from the Victorian era, in the center of the space. It appears as both a fantastical object and a reminder that understanding our antecedents is contingent on a physical proximity to the places that they occupied and the purposes they served, even though the City of London may now be physically transformed.
Covert relationships between institutions and people, such as those that exist between The City of London and its diverse population, have long been the subject matter of Dant’s studies. This structure, its interior, and the series of drawings expose a parity between the visual metaphor of the open book and the possibilities for new historical discovery presented by the numerous holes, both architectural and conceptual, in London’s financial district.