The Wallace Collection and Arts Council England

Bagatelle Parallel was a temporary commission for The Wallace Collection, London, made for Architecture Week, then in its 11th year, which aimed to inspire people to think creatively about the spaces and architecture around them. 

Through the video and sculpture installation that brook & black created, they attempted to evoke unexpected connections between the beautiful Château de Bagatelle in Paris, where Sir Richard Wallace died, and Hertford House, former residence of the Wallace family and home to their extraordinary collection of art.

After a period of research;  filming and sound collecting, looking into the two sites and those who cleaned and cared for both the collections, imagining and making, brook & black created three related works that negotiated internal and external elements of the building of Hertford House home to the Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, London.  These elements comprised:  the external trapeze structure, which was sited on top of  the entrance portico of the museum; the plaster replica of the delicate slipper from Fragonard’s painting The Swing, placed on the front lawn, and a video/sound installation sited on the first floor landing, of three video screens, formed like windows through which the sight and imagination of the audience was drawn, to reflect and imagine another place and time.

To make this work, brook & black  used imagery and sound from both The Trianon Palace Estate in Paris and The Wallace estate in London, and acknowledged amongst other works, The Swing (1767) by Fragonard, A Boy Bringing Bread, by Pieter de Hooch (1660’s) to weave together fact and fiction to encourage the viewer to imagine the Wallace Collection anew.

Acknowledgments:  The artists thank Tim Payne Engineering for assisting them with design and construction of the guillotine/swing. Thanks also to John O’Connor and Misco for their kindness and support and to Stephen Duffy, Curator at the Wallace who was so supportive of all brook & black’s research and making, and Madame Truchon Thierret for granting access to the Chateau Bagatelle in Paris.

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