Last year’s closure of The Wapping Project in London was a tragedy for the arts that didn’t generate nearly as much attention as it warranted, but these, alas, are the times we live in. Three residents successfully complained to the council that this important and unusual venue was making too much noise, and the multi-use centre and restaurant was forced to close. Cynics point to the inevitable residential redevelopment being a sure-fire way to increase the moaners’ property prices, but whether those ulterior motives are at play, London is certainly culturally poorer for the loss of The Wapping Project.
After decommissioning, The Wapping Hydraulic Power Station fell into serious disrepair, and it’s no exaggeration to say that the incredible late Victorian powerhouse was saved from ruin the intervention of The Wapping Project. The voluminous architecture lent itself perfectly to large-scale installations, performances, exhibitions and events, and the building itself was an integral part of the experience. On Paper is a definitive history of the Project, from the challenging early days through to the sad but defiant demise, including exhibitions featuring works by figures such as Keith Haring, Nicole Farhi and Issey Miyake, and examines the legacy the Project has left with the arts. Author Imogen Eveson’s work is lavishly illustrated, and contains nearly 400 amazingly evocative images of essential Project happenings within its 512 pages. On Paper is a Black Dog Publishing release.