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Grade One Listed Placeholder

Intervention for a monument

Royal College of Art

Tutor: David Burns

Intervention for a problematic monument. Photo Collage.

Royal College of Art: Media Studies

Tutor: David Burns

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In Whitehall gardens, along the riverside passage, west of Embankment station, stands a bronze statue of the decorated colonial leader Henry Bartle Frere, that calmly camouflages the failures of British military intervention and violence.

In London, where development is rife and swathes of London are becoming privatised, monuments can be used as placeholders of public space. By introducing a large reflective surface, the monument is obscured while the space is celebrated. The space’s reflection stands on a plinth.


The introduction of a mirror recognises that the monument's grade one listed status serves a useful purpose to the public. Grade One Listed Placeholder ignores the relevance of the disgrace of the represented individual and simultaneously showing vain entitlement. From behind the mirror only the back of the monument is visible while the front is reduced to a reflected image, a process that dematerialises the bronze statue.

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