La Barricade de la Rue Basfroi follows a series of similar works that Ben Fitton produced during the past year, within both gallery settings and publications. Focusing on transient politicised structures and systems, Fitton creates silhouettes from wooden garden trellis-work. Panels are cut to form the outline of a chosen image and then located in the exhibition space, fastened to a wall, as trellis would normally be installed.
For The Economist Plaza, the outline of the trellis panels is extracted directly from a photograph taken on the first day of the insurrection that led to the formation of the Paris Commune in 1871. A group of men, soldiers, pose before, atop and behind an irregular barricade; some with rifles others with drums. There are also a number of women and a dog. The barricade is fashioned from paving stones, torn from the street and piled about six or seven feet high. Gaps in its construction reveal a pair of cannons, their barrels pointing somewhere above the head of the photographer. Situated on the north wall of the plaza, behind a row of benches, the trellis outline of the barricade quietly implicates seated pedestrians in its pictoral space. Directly opposite, below the southern perimeter, are offices of BNP Paribas, a private French bank whose history is intertwined with the rebuilding of industrial Paris after both the February Revolution of 1848 and the Paris Commune.
Fitton, originally from Sheffield, lives and works in London. He graduated from the MA Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art & Design in 2001. He has exhibited nationally since 1996, including Overhang at Site Gallery, Sheffield (1999), Nerve at the ICA, London (1999), Unfound at Chisenhale Gallery, London (2000), Tippi Hedren at VTO, London (2001) and most recently at IBID Projects, London (January 2002).