The Treatment Rooms - Baroness von Carrie Reichardt and Mr Spunky
Baroness von Reichardt comes from a background of sculpture and film. Influences include outsider/street art, comic strips, 70s porn graphics, Malcolm Poynter, symbols and quotes. Probably most famous for `Pinky and Perky`, a life sized pig headed bra. Most recently into ceramics and working on a project to cover her house in mosaics. A life times work. . .give or take a few years. "mosaicing is very therapeutic, hence the name treatment rooms”. Also a bedazzling dancer with electro punk performance band –‘Anarchistwood’
...and Mr Spunky. With a background in strips and storyboarding and as a hobby, creating festival/party environments. His early influences were sci-fi,70s Marvel/D.C.(especially Jack Kirby) Metal Hurlant, Rick Griffin, George Barris,and the graphics of Crass and Flux of pink Indians. Currently dicking around with music and video but also assisting Ms.Reichardt with the mosaic house.A magnet on the Treatment Rooms fridge reads; `it’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way. ` Right on.
The ‘Treatment Rooms’ is a privately owned house in west London currently having its exterior walls transformed by a collective of artists, who operate from it under that same name. We are embarked on a project to cover the entire outside walls of the three- storey house in mosaic art, which is planned as a self-contained conceptual piece. We have just completed work on the front wall, from east to west, in and around the porch, effectively completing the first tier of a planned three. The subject matter of the different sections draws on a huge range of cultural references and associations, and is evolving as the work progresses.
One of the main motivating forces for doing this work is our desire to produce Public Art that is uncensored and unusual. In all our Public Art projects where we’ve worked in collaboration with Town and District Councils, there are strictures that don’t allow overt political or social comment, often only permitting a sanitised version of our original plans. We want to include powerful political references, to put our work in a social context, to make it an expression of the reality of life today.
As well as this we want to include historical references to the art and culture of the past, both to show the immense variety of different visual traditions, and to highlight the differences, and the correspondences, with our present situation. Nothing we have used in the design is a direct copy of earlier styles, rather we have used different styles as an inspiration. All designs are original and we use these styles as a starting point for new images. Many people have collaborated on the ideas and the working out of the finished designs. We use recycled and donated tiles both glass and ceramic. There are some found objects and other materials too. The mosaics are very incongruous both in relation to their setting in Chiswick, and to the architecture of the house itself.
The section around the front door, with its alchemical symbols of the four elements in Latin, its all-seeing one-eyed Mickey Mouse, its Tree of Life symbol, its Mayan Gods supporting the porch and ornate Indian decoration, transform the entrance and just who is that peeking out from under the door? The walls around the windows to the left of the porch are decorated with Eastern inspired frames and are inlaid with ceramic discs associated with symbols used in alchemy and Pagan ritual. Running the length and height is what can best be described as a Surrealist tableau, featuring fly agarics, flying eyeballs, a mischievous marriage of Mandrakes and a querulous caterpillar who bids the viewer to answer his simple question. To the right of the porch (the most recently completed section) is a Tiki inspired island landscape that’s either paradise or hell, depending how you look at it (palm trees, a giant orange totem pole, battleships, a pair of lovers and some UFO’s). Above this scene explodes an illuminated eye. It was nice of English Heritage to award us a blue plaque for our efforts, wasn’t it?erH It is our intention that as well as being a work of visual beauty, the house will be a vision of world cultures, allowing interpretations and possibilities for appreciation on many different levels, with a wealth of references and points of interest.
It is envisioned that in years to come this building will become a place of interest for a very wide audience.For us, this is a way of making Art that is not a sellable product. This is a political statement in itself, and a reaction against the commodification of Art that is so prevalent today.