‘VINCENT VAN GOGH, 1853 – 1890, Painter, lived here 1873 – 1874’
“I now have a room, as I’ve long been wishing…” Living at Hackford Road in London brought happiness to Van Gogh, although this turned to sadness when his feelings for his landlady’s daughter were not reciprocated. The Van Gogh house has now become a local landmark: Stockwell boasts Van Gogh Walk and the Van Gogh Café, studios have been set up in the neighbouring Vincent’s Yard, sunflowers sprout from pavements and front gardens, whilst local writers dedicate poems which they post through the door.
After five years of negotiation with Lambeth Council, planning permission to restore 87 Hackford Road has finally been granted and in June 2018, building work started. This exhibition becomes a way to display the house, to go on ‘a guided tour’ whilst the building is under construction, to raise wider questions around heritage and conservation, authenticity and the role of replicas. What of the house do we seek to preserve? How do we assign value to things?
The objects on show range from things found in the house, such as a handmade camera, a clay pipe, painted wallpaper and a wooden Victorian toilet seat, to pieces created in response to them. Many casts in latex, silicon and plaster are also on display, including one taken of the fireplace in his room, along with the blue plaque, wallpaper and floorboards – please feel free to touch these, and read through the ‘Catalogue’ and ‘A Guided Tour’ book to understand the ideas and research behind them further.
The two films on show explore the house through tours given by people from different perspectives, that of the house’s former resident Marjorie Smith, the art critics Waldemar Januszczak and Jonathan Jones, and former artist resident Saskia Olde Wolbers. The second film puts the house into a computer game, made from 3D scanning the property using a process called photogrammetry.
Opening in March 2019, the house offers residencies and exhibition opportunities to young artists, through collaboration with San Mei Gallery. The gallery is the ‘face’ of a wider, ongoing venture working with art and education in the UK and China. San Mei Gallery seeks to facilitate developing artistic practice, through providing space for studios, exhibitions and workshops, and encouraging different communities to work together. The gallery is open to proposals and ideas.
Please sign the guest book, follow the Instagram or get in contact directly with Livia (email below) to find out more about the house, its restoration and the residency programme we are planning.
Livia Wang, August 2018