Five tonnes of industrial machinery appears in the centre of Blackburn as part of Sarah Hardacre’s ambitious project. The disused Surface Print wallpaper machine, invented in Darwen in 1838, has been repurposed as sculpture by the artist with the addition of a symbolic yellow pigment.
Grace – so called after the wife of Charles Potter, one of the pioneers of the original Surface Print machine – is a startling feat of reappropriation, rich in historical reference and suggestion, investigating domestication, power and a gendered world via Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s groundbreaking text ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ and Lancashire’s proud manufacturing heritage.
This dialogue is continued in her exhibition, The Museum of Wallpaper through archival images, objects and performance. The two form a fascinating journey into the industrial and social histories of Surface Printing and manufacture of wallpaper.