Peter Dean Rickards tell us about ‘That Wall’Saturday, November 10th, 2012 Categories: Reports, Updates
Peter Dean Rickards latest group exhibition I Is AnOther, opened a couple of days ago at New Art Exchange in Nottingham, UK. The show curated by Rachael Barrett has brought together some of the more prolific and estimable Jamaican contemporary artists practicing today. Rickards’ installation has been gathering some attention due to the fact that he displaced and tore down one of Banksy’s graffitied walls in Jamaica and has turned it into an art installation. Rickards shares his experience with ARC Magazine.
So, last Thursday (Nov.1, 2012) a new exhibit entitled “I is Another” was opened to the public at the New Art Exchange in the UK. Curated by Rachael Barrett, the exhibit features the work of a few Jamaican artists including Ebony Patterson, Nari Ward and myself. My part of the exhibit — The Afflicted Yard — consists of two rooms. One features the work of self-described “conceptional artist” LA Lewis (see “Almost Famous”), and another that looks like a transported corner of the Riverton City dump which includes the now famous ‘Bansky wall’ that I chopped down in 2008.
Not surprisingly, the exhibit has raised a few questions so I thought I would take some time to share a few key points:
- The wall was actually once part of a bar on Mona Road in Kingston for about 4 years before I decided to buy it from the the owner of the bar and remove it.
- The total cost to remove the wall was about $80,000 JA (roughly $900 USD). The bar owner said it would cost him about $300 to build a new wall and he wanted another $300 or so for himself ( he never rebuilt the wall by the way). I then paid a power-saw operator a couple hundred dollars and had to buy all the idlers outside the bar booze for about 8 hours. Another $100 USD was spent to hire a nearby road crew to hoist it onto a truck-bed with a backhoe (I had no idea how I was going to move it after actually chopping it down).
- The primary purpose of taking the wall at the time was because I was certain that if I didn’t take it, someone else would. After all, it was situated close the University of the West Indies on Mona Road and some of the foreign students had an idea what it was. The guy who sold me the wall actually knew who Banksy was too, but I don’t think he cared and was more than happy to sell me the thing. Secondly, I thought that filming the process of the wall removal would make for a entertaining video, and after hearing about other Banksy items that had been sold for ridiculous amounts of money, I figured I’d put it on Ebay and wait for Brad Pitt to email me.
- The wall didn’t stay up for sale very long because I soon discovered that Banksy had set up a verification service called Pest Control which was supposed to deter people like me from “stealing” his stencils off the street and selling it. I emailed his company the video a couple times asking for him to verify it so I could build a school for blind children (and hopefully a niggered-up BMW with anything left over), but for some reason he never wrote back.
- Since it was cut down the wall took up a corner of a relatives garage but was eventually moved to the end of the driveway where it sat more or less forgotten on a wooden platform for 4 more years. Every now and then someone would ask me about it and my reply would always be: ”It might be worth something someday, but I think someone has to die first.”
- In 2011 I was contacted by Rachael Barrett at the NAE who wanted to know if I’d be interested in doing some work with the museum. It was then that I suggested that we recreate the experience of the wall-removal event with the original video footage and the construction of a space that more or less mimics the way the wall was stored and treated during its time at my uncle’s house in Stony Hill (ie: a piece of broken concrete surrounded by junk).
- The reason the wall has been broken for the exhibit is to reinforce the notion that the exhibit is really not about Banksy. Rather, the installation is about the perception of people (drunk Jamaicans, including myself), who never saw the wall as a great piece of art, but as a object that white people in the UK (and Brad Pitt) would probably pay tremendous amounts of money for. However, when the sale failed to materialize, the wall was retired to a dump (as opposed to the National Gallery) –until now!
The exhibit runs till December 8. See New Art Exchange for more info.
P.S Stay tuned for more news about LA Lewis’ debut in the UK — his old ironing board and a painted cinder block is hanging in a government funded museum.
Thank you Peter for sharing this information with ARC’s community. See more of PDR’s work here.