Visit London’s most secret new public work of art


In a secret garden tucked away in Bloomsbury, a new piece of public art has just been unveiled. “Fragments of memory” by a Dutch artist Bouke de Vries takes the form of a vase of ‘exploded’ soy sauce, which at first glance might seem a rather haphazard subject for an outdoor sculpture in London. However, the layers of meaning in the piece and the particular resonance of its unveiling give a particular poignant character to the work.

Described as a “message of the acceptance of the trauma and beauty of healing ‘, “Fragments of Memory” coincides with the second anniversary of the start of the pandemic. But it was not originally intended as a coin to mark it. De Vries’ work is located in the UCL Japanese garden. The shape of the sculpture is taken from a fractured 17th-century Arita soybean bottle and reflects the political, geographic and social fragmentation of Japanese history. The outline of the islands of Japan is drawn within the break lines of the room.

If you are unfamiliar with UCL’s Japanese Garden, it is a magical and tranquil 24-hour place in central London to take a break and contemplate all that needs to be seen (the subjects are not lacking at the moment). There is a raised seating area around the artwork so that it can become a focal point for reflection. The garden also houses a memorial to the Chōshū Five, who snuck out of Japan in the 1860s when overseas travel was illegal in the country, traveled to London and studied at UCL before returning to their home country. origin with revolutionary results.

Along with the news that the Covid Memorial Wall on the Embankment has been revamped a bit, be sure to visit this very special stage of the pandemic in London and take a moment …

UCL Japanese Garden, 27-28 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0AH.

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