The sculptor brings her haunting and humorous work to the Gothic Revival villa
Ford’s work often combines the animal and human into one figure, she has described them as ‘sculptures dressed as people who are dressed as animals’. From tall bronze cats conversing like a group of existential poets and poodles inspired by Joshua Reynolds’s portrait of the Ladies Waldegrave to dancing Clog Girls mourning the death of Marie Antoinette, the sculptor’s work combines fantasy and history.
Ford continues to work across many materials from bronze to textile and finds the hands-on process integral to her practice: ‘I can’t work any other way. I tried to hand things over, but it always comes back a bit dead. For me, the process of making helps the ideas, keeps it intuitive and fresh.’
The show is the first exhibition of contemporary art to be presented at the house and its grounds, built in the 18th century by Horace Walpole. Marking the end of the building’s second wave of restoration, Laura Ford at Strawberry Hill will bring together previous work and new pieces made specially. ‘I love Walpole’s relationship to the place, it was a place of collecting and putting things together of slightly wrong eras – I like his playfulness. I’d like to bring that approach, of not fitting perfectly but provoking, to Strawberry Hill,’ concludes Ford.
Laura Ford at Strawberry Hill is at Strawberry Hill House, Twickenham from 20 June to 6 November