London - Brussels Exchange : Nicola Rae
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Terre à Terre
Nicola Rae


' Sand, gravel and mud,
Greenwich Peninsula, London '


For ‘Terre à Terre’ I have made work with five different coloured sands, gravels and mud found at low tide on the River Thames. I wanted to take material formed as a result of river industries on the Thames to Brussels, where the original river is hardly visible at all. In 1998 Christian Meynen showed us photographs he had taken of where the river in Brussels should be, but now is mostly hidden underground or diverted from its original course into canals.

Exploring the foreshore along a mile stretch of the Greenwich Peninsula, I found five distinctly different coloured river beaches. Each has been affected by the particular industry on its adjacent wharves. A dark gravel found near Enderby’s Wharf indicates that slate roof tiles were shipped here over many years. A fine pale sand from beyond Morden’s Wharf shows that it must have blown off the open air piles of sand stored to the north of the Peninsula.

The different materials have been poured into five long perspex cylinders, each forming narrow bands of fine and more granular strata. They were hung in the large gallery at Maison de l’Art Actuel des Chartreux.

Collecting mud on the Thames
at Lovell's Wharf, Greenwich Peninsula
Collection sites

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