Coade's Elixir- an occupation
Hayward Gallery concrete cafe 2014
Performed by Zoe Athena
Coade’s Elixir- an occupation was a site specific installation that filled the Hayward Gallery’s Concrete Café with roughly hewn, Neo-Classical and Baroque architectural ornaments transforming the character of Concrete Café́. Taking the history, materiality and mythology of the Southbank Centre site as a starting point, the work drew on the narrative of an eighteenth-century local entrepreneur, Mrs Eleanor Coade, whose factory was located where the Royal Festival Hall currently stands. Here, Mrs Coade manufactured and produced Lithodipyra, an ‘artificial stone’ used for statues, large-scale ornaments and architectural decorations. Coade stone was superseded by concrete- the same material celebrated in the Brutalist architecture of the site today. Adopting a strategy of caricaturisation the prop-like objects were covered with a collage of the Coade Lion, a statue which used to crown the Red Lion Brewery on the Royal Festival Hall site and which now stands at one end of Westminster Bridge. In the performance Eleanor Coade was merged with Britannia who was the figurehead of the festival of Britain also located on the same site in 1951.