The new artwork at King’s Cross
Aleppo at King’s Cross is a permanent commission for the Tapestry Building at King’s Cross. The work is by the acclaimed artist Tess Jaray. Aleppo at King’s Cross is a monumental ‘wall sculpture’ in pale pink, white and dark purples, with a distinctive geometric form carved into six symmetrical panels. This commission is part of The King’s Cross Project, a three-year programme of art commissions for the buildings and public spaces at King’s Cross.
Tess Jaray on Aleppo at King’s Cross
‘A few years ago, just before the war broke out, I was lucky enough to visit Syria. I fell in love with the country and the people, and particularly with Aleppo, with its Citadel, mosques and huge souk. This new work is part of a series inspired by that visit and is based on the architecture of some of the mosques in the city. Many of them were built with a lintel above the main entrance made of alternating, carved stripes of a very dark basalt and a light, almost pale pink, sandstone. The lintel was a very particular and very enchanting feature of the city.
‘When I was commissioned to make a work for the Tapestry Building, it seemed an opportunity to expand ideas that had previously been restricted by size, and produce a work – which I now see as wall sculpture rather than just as installation – with the sense of elevation I was seeking. My painting has never been political but this is a tribute, in my own way, to the passing of old Aleppo.’
About the artist
Tess Jaray lives and works in London, near King’s Cross. She studied at St Martin’s School of Art and the Slade School of Art, where she later taught for many years. Her work can be seen in the Tate and the British Museum, and her environmental designs can be seen at the Cathedral Precinct in Wakefield and the forecourt of Victoria Station, among others. In 2010 she published a book of her collected writings, Painting: Mysteries and Confessions. A monograph exploring Jaray’s contemporary influence on abstract painting, The Art of Tess Jaray, was published in 2014 by Ridinghouse.