New Spring Gardens

New Spring Gardens, 2016
28m x 8m
Local building site debris, top soil, wheat grass, rubber bark chippings, water bags
Nine Elms on the Southbank, London
Photo: Toni Marshall, Jenna Rossi-Camus, Jess Littlewood

New Spring Gardens is a site-specific installation commissioned as part of the Nine Elms on the South Bank Chelsea Fringe Festival by London-based artist Rachael Champion.  A railway arch has been transformed into an artwork using rubble sourced from Keybridge House, a Brutalist Vauxhall icon and former BT telephone exchange, which is currently being demolished as part of the area’s major regeneration.

New Spring Gardens was the original name of the nearby Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, which in its time was a leading venue for public entertainment.  Jonathan Tyers, a property developer and art patron, established the garden as a cradle of modern painting, architecture, and music.   In the mid 19th century the park was sold and re-developed into residential housing.  In the 1970’s, this housing area was cleared, and this area of Vauxhall was restored back to parkland.

New Spring Gardens endeavours to reflect on the physicality of redevelopment by interpreting the idea of a garden as an urban space in transition.  This unusual “garden” is punctuated with other materials found in more traditional landscaped outdoor spaces including living grasses and coloured rubber bark chippings.