Van Gogh's old home is given a new life with exhibition
'Yes, these Eyes are the Windows'
At number 87 Hackford Road, a blue plaque sits on a white cracked and peeling façade announcing the iconic painter's past lodging there from 1873 to 1874, and what has now been transformed into a stimulating visual art installation inspired by the past.
Van Gogh was only 19 upon his arrival at the house, and worked for an art dealer in Covent Garden, but his life in Brixton grew unbearable after developing a romantic liking towards his landlady's daughter, Eugenie.
Two years ago the house was sold to a Chinese businessman, James Wang, who has now asked Artangel — the UK arts commissioning body — to allow Saskia Olde Wolbers to create an installation there. Born in the Netherlands, Olde Wolbers has long been fascinated with the fusion between fact and fiction, which she explores in video works accompanied with a narration and soundtrack around the house.
The mesmerising sound piece is composed of echos and whispers and narrated by the house itself, with the sound of running water (as the house was built over a buried stream) always apparent in the background. Olde Wolbers describes Yes, these Eyes are the Windows as a "reconstruction of possibilities", exploring the way in which historic houses become "anthropomorphised and somehow seen as biographers of their historic tenants".
'Yes, These Eyes Are The Windows' will run until June 22 at 87 Hackford Road, London