School of Mathematical Sciences

Meet Giulia Ricci, artist for our new building

Giulia Ricci is a London-based artist we have commissioned to create a series of artworks in our new Mathematical Sciences building. We caught up with Giulia to find out more about the project.

2 August 2019

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Please tell us a little bit about you and the art you make.
My name is Giulia - I am a visual artist based in London. I work primarily with drawing on paper as well as with other media and within architectural settings. I am obsessed with triangles.

How did you get involved with the School of Mathematical Sciences building project? What first attracted you to the project?
I was invited to compete for the commission. I loved learning about the history of QMUL, with its inclusive ethos at its core; education as a force for self and collective improvement is a topic I feel strongly about. Given my interest in patterns, I was excited by the possibility of working within a School of Mathematics. The brief for the commission had an engagement element that I found attractive; I have felt privileged to have access to the knowledge of some students and members of staff that kindly got involved in my research leading up to the design.

What is the overall concept for the School of Maths artwork project?
There will be two artworks: each of them has been conceived for a specific part of the building (one within the main entrance and one on level 6) so they are independent from each other. However, they are both integrated within the architectural setting and relate to existing features of the building. The common thread is pattern and how we strive to find order and disruptions within patterns.

What sort of things do you have to consider when working on commissions for buildings?
There are various aspects that need to be taken into account, such as durability, budget constraints, the vision of the client and many other practical things. My preferred approach is to integrate the artwork within the existing framework (the architecture and the context/history of the institution) as much as possible.

Which aspect of the project are you most excited about delivering?
I have enjoyed the different phases so far, but an important part of my role will be drawing on site for several weeks while the building is in use (in October and November), to create a wall drawing in part of the ground floor foyer. I look forward to this.

What do you hope the artwork will bring to the new Maths building and its users?
I hope that my artwork will be perceived as a subtle but stimulating presence within the building and that it will sustain interest over time. I am hoping that staff and students will find it interesting, or perhaps relaxing, to have something in the building which breaks away from the aesthetics that contemporary educational buildings tend to have for functional reasons.

What have you learned as an artist from working on the project?
The learning is continuous so I am probably not yet able to fully respond to this question until I have completed the project – but I think one of the greatest gifts of this project has been having an insight into its future users.

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