Andrew Brown: Entangled Ilford

November 2022

SPACE and Aetreum present a commission by Ilford-based artist Andrew Brown – this is located on the hoardings outside the former Harrison Gibson building in the heart of Ilford town centre at 193 – 207 High Road, Ilford, IG1 1LZ.

“For two weeks in July, I walked around Ilford photographing street scenes, the changing built environment and plants and trees growing in the area. The resulting images are intended to focus our awareness on the entwinement of our everyday activity with the urban natural and built environment, which often escapes our attention. To make each large black and white image, three photographs from the same location are combined using a process known as channel mixing. The manner in which I have made and presented this work, with the component single colour images in a strip alongside each large composite image, reflects how Ilford is inextricably entangled with the development of and innovation in photography, dating back to 1879.” Andrew Brown

In spring 2022, SPACE invited artists from Redbridge to apply for this commission through an open call with site owners Aetreum.

Six shortlisted artists were then invited to make a proposal for a new artwork. The shortlisted artists were:

Andrew Brown is an artist and educator based at SPACE Ilford. He uses analogue, digital, alternative and historic photographic processes alongside soundscapes, documents and objects to explore the impact on communities of rapid changes in the built and natural environment in East London. Recent commissions include UP projects and the Arts Council, and collaborative work with the River Roding Trust, East London Textile Arts, Humorisk CIC and Thames Ward Community Project. He was a trainee teacher at Highlands Junior School in Ilford in 1979, and has lived in Ilford for the past 23 years. Following a career in education, he studied photography at Falmouth University and is now working towards a Doctorate in Fine Art at the University of East London.


About the Harrison Gibson building

Harrison and Gibson was once a famous high street furniture store in Ilford. Throughout most of the 20th century, the store was an important part of Ilford.

In 1959, the store was destroyed by fire. Damage to the store resulted in the loss of £900,000 in stock and £2 million in property. The business continued, and various spaces were rented. The nightclub room remained for many years and the furniture store continued to sell furniture on a smaller scale for the next 20 years.

There was a nightclub in the penthouse of the store, which was accessible only by elevator.

Planning permission has now been granted by Redbridge Council for the demolition and redevelopment of the iconic Harrison Gibson. It is proposed to convert this vacant, deteriorating building into 330 new apartments, including 103 affordable rentals.

Text by artist Sabrina Tirvengadum