Diggers, rat catchers, and Google: telling the Kings Cross story
As an artist and a passionate North Londoner, it is apt that Catherine Borowski has been involved in bringing public spaces to life in King’s Cross from the start of its rebirth. Working with developers, Argent, to engage locals and visitors by bringing art and events to the area, Borowski continues her mission to bring a new kind of accessibility to public art.
Since then, Borowski has worked to create stand-out events including: a metropolis of cardboard boxes and diggers for people to play with; a Victorian-themed festival complete with an enormous set of belching chimneys, taxidermy and rat catchers, (“the story of King’s Cross told from the point of view of normal people,” she says); and Curious? Festival of Knowledge, a free, one-day educational festival involving local pioneers Google and The British Library.
Establishing a cultural hotspot through public artworks
“King’s Cross wasn’t known as a cultural destination. People weren’t really coming here to hang out, but that’s changed now,” says Borowski. “What the King’s Cross Partnership has done is ground-breaking. They’ve made the place cool, and public art has been a massive part of that.” Asked which is her favourite artwork to have come to the area, Borowski mentions Felice Varini’s Across The Buildings. A work of colossal geometric shapes painted across Granary Square’s Victorian buildings, all of which merge into one when viewed from a particular spot. The viewing platform constructed there became a space for creative influencer events during the six months the artwork was live. “The Varini work was something I would have travelled abroad to see,” says Borowski, “It was painstakingly difficult to do, not populist but absolutely amazing.”
Borowski’s passion for breaking the mould of public art extends across London. For one of her recent projects, she re-purposed a skip that, along with creative partner Lee Baker, she transports across London to host temporary exhibitions in unusual spots. Since March 2017, Skip Gallery (1 Tapper Walk, N1C) has hosted Look At This, a new David Shrigley work, as well as a life-drawing class for ten people which took place as street artist, Ben Eine, live painted the outside of the skip.