Public work

Claire Barclay: Water Finds a Level

Putney Embankment, London, England

Claire Barclay has been commissioned by Tideway, London to create a series of artworks for the new public realm site at Putney.

The ‘cultural meander’ or heritage theme for the West section of the tunnel is ‘Recreation to Industry: Society in Transition.’ Within this heading, the site-specific narrative for Putney relates to ways in which cultural context influences popular movements advocating social change, to generate varied forms of political engagement.

In response, Barclay has developed a series of artworks which comprise: three bronze oars to be incorporated into the foreshore balustrade in the form of lengths of handrail; text integrated within the inlaid University Boat Race (UBR) marker line in the form of raised cast lettering; and a graphic pattern waterjet cut into the granite walling of the foreshore kiosk.

The artworks refer back to Putney’s heritage as the location of the Putney Debates and a birthplace for democratic thinking, human rights, and civil liberty, as outlined in the Tideway Heritage Interpretation Strategy, by aiming to draw attention to the democratic use of the Thames.


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