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Ben Kelly and the Cycle of Inspiration

Ben Kelly and the Cycle of Inspiration
In Article, News

In 1982, Ben Kelly painted stripes on the pillars in the middle of a Manchester nightclub. “The pillars were in the middle of the dance floor and looked a bit hazardous,” he says, “so I added the stripes in the style of industrial workplaces where there is all sorts of colour coding going on. The Haçienda and Factory Records became iconic and my stripes became its visual language which somehow found its way around the globe.”

Kelly’s signature stripes are so embedded into the cultural landscape that they are ripe for appropriation. In his SS15 collection for Off White, Virgil Abloh, now artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear, adorned sleeves with a striped insignia that paid direct homage to the Manchester nightclub. Kelly, alerted to their appearance, was first irritated, then intrigued as an opportunity materialised to collaborate with Abloh and be an active part of his design’s evolution.

Kelly’s latest work, Columns, has its roots in this Haçienda heritage, while also toying with notions of classicism and modernism. Now installed at Alex Eagle Studio – having moved across from The Store Studios at 180 the Strand where they featured as part of the seminal Everything at Once – Kelly’s twelve Columns ask important questions about collaboration, inspiration and appropriation.

Kelly says: “The columns are about work that has influenced me over the last 40 years. Brancusi’s Endless Column, Isa Genzken, the early American minimalist artists. They are my homage to those people but also to new ways of doing it. There is a dialogue between them, they speak to each other, they aspire to present new ways of looking at columns, to be my interpretation of different points of reference.”

Kelly’s work has forever been positioned at the intersection between art, design, architecture – and now, with Abloh’s influence, fashion. In this installation, he revels in subverting architecture’s stringent rules. Order is upended by colour, stripes, a beam sticking jaggedly from a base. It’s clear, this is an artist eyeing up a changing world with his tongue firmly in his cheek.

“If you look around the city of London today, all the grand buildings with columns that were once banks or city offices are now nightclubs or bars. They’ve taken on another life, and the powerful, defining symbol of the column has become abstracted in the new reality. So the artwork is a kind of pun on politics, on power, on money, on capitalism, on the new world order.”

Shop Ben Kelly’s Columns below. Please note a wider selection is available in store, for more information please email [email protected]

Ben Kelly Column C9

Price on request. Artist, designer and icon Ben Kelly discusses the power of the column as a symbol of the old and the new. Kelly’s latest work, Columns, has its roots in this Haçienda heritage, while also toying with notions of classicism and modernism. Now installed at Alex Eagle Studio – having moved across from The Store Studios at 180 the Strand where they featured as part of the seminal Everything at Once – Kelly’s twelve Columns ask important questions about collaboration, inspiration and appropriation. C9 is made from Jesmonite, aluminium and mild steel and measures Dimensions: W 600mm x L 600mm x H 2775mm. A further selection of Columns available in studio - please email [email protected] for more information.
Price on request.
Price on request.

Ben Kelly Column C7

Price on request. Artist, designer and icon Ben Kelly discusses the power of the column as a symbol of the old and the new. Kelly’s latest work, Columns, has its roots in this Haçienda heritage, while also toying with notions of classicism and modernism. Now installed at Alex Eagle Studio – having moved across from The Store Studios at 180 the Strand where they featured as part of the seminal Everything at Once – Kelly’s twelve Columns ask important questions about collaboration, inspiration and appropriation. C7 is Mild Steel and measures Dimensions: W 600mm x L 600mm x H 2775mm. A further selection of Columns available in studio - please email [email protected] for more information.
Price on request.
Price on request.

Ben Kelly Column C3

Price on request. Artist, designer and icon Ben Kelly discusses the power of the column as a symbol of the old and the new. Kelly’s latest work, Columns, has its roots in this Haçienda heritage, while also toying with notions of classicism and modernism. Now installed at Alex Eagle Studio – having moved across from The Store Studios at 180 the Strand where they featured as part of the seminal Everything at Once – Kelly’s twelve Columns ask important questions about collaboration, inspiration and appropriation. C3 is made from Aluminium plate and measures Dimensions: W 600mm x L 600mm x H 2775mm. A further selection of Columns available in studio - please email [email protected] for more information.    
Price on request.
Price on request.

The Stores x Ben Kelly Columns Sweatshirt

Artist, designer and icon Ben Kelly discusses the power of the column as a symbol of the old and the new. Kelly’s latest work, Columns, has its roots in this Haçienda heritage, while also toying with notions of classicism and modernism. Now installed at Alex Eagle Studio – having moved across from The Store Studios at 180 the Strand where they featured as part of the seminal Everything at Once – Kelly’s twelve Columns ask important questions about collaboration, inspiration and appropriation. White 100% Cotton unisex sweatshirt. This style comes in UK sizing, please refer to size chart.
£75.00
£75.00

Ben Kelly Column C5

Price on request. Artist, designer and icon Ben Kelly discusses the power of the column as a symbol of the old and the new. Kelly’s latest work, Columns, has its roots in this Haçienda heritage, while also toying with notions of classicism and modernism. Now installed at Alex Eagle Studio – having moved across from The Store Studios at 180 the Strand where they featured as part of the seminal Everything at Once – Kelly’s twelve Columns ask important questions about collaboration, inspiration and appropriation. C5 is made from Mild Steel and measures Dimensions: W 600mm x L 600mm x H 2775mm. A further selection of Coloumns available in studio - please email [email protected] for more information.
Price on request.
Price on request.

Ben Kelly Column C4

Price on request. Artist, designer and icon Ben Kelly discusses the power of the column as a symbol of the old and the new. Kelly’s latest work, Columns, has its roots in this Haçienda heritage, while also toying with notions of classicism and modernism. Now installed at Alex Eagle Studio – having moved across from The Store Studios at 180 the Strand where they featured as part of the seminal Everything at Once – Kelly’s twelve Columns ask important questions about collaboration, inspiration and appropriation. C4 is made from Acrylic mirror and black MDF laminate and measures Dimensions: W 600mm x L 600mm x H 2775mm. Not suitable for outdoor installation. A further selection of Columns available in studio - please email [email protected] for more information.
Price on request.
Price on request.
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