William Cobbing, Written in Water
August 2023
Bridget Riley Studios, E3

SPACE’s legacy has been celebrated in a new public sculpture commission for Fish Island by one of our studio artists, William Cobbing. Written in Water (2022) is a constellation of cast-iron ‘plaques’ reminiscent of man-hole covers, each embossed with quotes evoking the rich diversity and precarity of the area. It includes SPACE co-founders Peter Sedgley and Bridget Riley’s account of finding derelict warehouses in the East End to convert into affordable artists’ studios. The plaque reads: “Bridget and I came down to the East End for a drink. We saw a guy fitting out his boat by a derelict warehouse, with great open spaces for studios.”

A version of these works (including the Bridget Riley one) are now included in the exhibition Life Is More Important Than Art at Whitechapel Gallery.