Steve Messam

Emotion: Contemplative

With Façade, the English artist Steve Messam presents a site-specific work designed for the entrance of Old Billingsgate. This installation fully embodies Messam’s artistic exploration, uniquely interacting with the surrounding environment and architecture, delving into themes of transitoriness and the relationship between art and landscape. The white and irregularity of the piece sharply contrast with the colours of the facade and its strong architectural symmetry. The rounded and inflatable forms seem to assertively emerge from the arches, where the public is invited to contemplate this transformation. Messam appears to transform the entrance with an installation that goes beyond mere aesthetics, challenging conventions and prompting a deeper reflection on the relationship between artistic creation and architectural surroundings. ‘Façade becomes an emanation of Messam’s artistic vision, inviting observers to explore new perspectives and contemplate the meaning and purpose of art in the urban context.



Steve Messam is an environmental artist based in County Durham, UK. His ephemeral site-specific installations re-imagine the every day, interrupting historical landscapes and vacant architecture to help us perceive the familiar environment in a new way. Messam’s works seek to explore and uncover the layers of narrative within the rural environment, frequently drawing on existing uses of the land and reflecting an understanding of the geological, cultural and agricultural practices already being used to shape the landscape. From working with farmers to re-imagining vernacular architecture, his ephemeral, site-specific art installations uncover hidden stories and help a deeper understanding of the place. Working on a scale that is typically ‘bigger than a house’, his works explore the colour and scale of place. Messam created the first off-site installation at the 2006 Shanghai Biennial and created a number of site-specific installations across the Venetian Lagoon during the 2009 Venice Biennale. In 2021 he was awarded ‘Visual Artist of the Year’ at the Newcastle Journal Culture Awards.

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