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PHOTOMONTH IN KRAKOW — 2010 Photomonth_kropki_duze

KALEV ERICKSON Photomonth_kropki_duze

The Gherkin



The subject of Kalev Erickson’s series is a work of world-famous architects, of Sir Norman Foster and Ken Shuttleworth, built at the headquarters of the Swiss Re reinsurance association on 30 St Mary Axe – an outstanding work of architecture and a source of pride for the city, which is carrying out a policy of creating a new and utterly modern architectural side to London. On the other side of the issue is the Gherkin, as the building is commonly called, a familiar element of the London landscape, visible from many places in the city. It is an ostentatious symbol of the wealth of the financial institution upon which the headquarters was conceived, and the aspirations of the city, seeking to adopt a new face – but also a point of orientation, a piece of the metropolis that has grown out of its fabric (perceptible even from the language – the colloquial ‘gherkin’ replaced the official name).
In describing the ‘Gherkin’ project, Kalev Erickson stated that it came about ‘out of something you might call a personal obsession. From my Shoreditch flat I saw the Gherkin structure from the very beginning, and I started to see it everywhere I went’. Erickson saw Foster’s building from the city rail, in the gaps between houses, in the reflections on the glass surfaces of other towers. The Gherkin, he said, was everywhere – thus he saw it as an ‘old friend’, whose presence was inevitable, because The Gherkin was one of London’s tallest buildings.
Kalev Erickson indicates two reference points for the series. First is the drawings from Martin Handford’s Where’s Wally? series for children, a game which involves locating the main protagonist, a skinny guy in a red-and-white striped jumper, hidden among dozens, or hundred of other figures. The basis of Erickson’s project is fundamentally the same: in these colour photographs one searches out one of the largest buildings in the British capital, which one would think to be as easy as picking out as a vibrantly-dressed youngster. Meanwhile, at times the task seems nigh impossible: the Gherkin takes the form of an ethereal reflection on a plate of glass, or a bright drop on the horizon. The other point of reference is Joel Meyerowitz’s series, ‘St. Louis and The Arch’ – a study of St. Louis’s architecture taken with a large-format camera, with another architectural symbol, the gigantic arch designed by Eero Saarnen, in the background.
The language Erickson chose for his project comes from a personal relationship with the building; he took all the photographs with a cheap automatic camera, like a family saga or a vacation snapshot, seemingly without artistic flair. The basic subject was the building itself, oppressed by the presence of this odd modern architecture. Over time, the weight shifted onto the surroundings, the changes taking place in the urban landscape, the disappearance of some elements and the appearance of new ones. This Gherkin tribute is also a tribute to the city in which the Gherkin stands.




Kalev  Erickson - The Gherkin
Coordinator: Joanna Piotrowska

Grand opening: 8.05.2010, 3:00 p.m.
former Potocka Gallery, 10 Sikorskiego square (annexe)
Exhibition dates: 8–30.05.2010; TUE-FRI: 4:00p.m.-7:00p.m., SAT-SUN: 12:00a.m.-6:00p.m.