© <b>Faisal AbduAllah</b> and the Sixth Form Council at North Westminster Community School

July 17, 2006

DIS-ASSEMBLY: Leading artists work with 2,000 pupils to mark the closure of one of Britains largest inner-city schools

The Serpentine Gallery has commissioned artists Christian Boltanski, Runa Islam, Faisal AbduAllah, and architect Yona Friedman to work with the 2,000 students of North Westminster Community School, one of Britains largest inner-city secondary schools, to create photographic and film work as well as a spectacular large-scale architectural project.

The project explores the legacy of this progressive flagship school. Built during the 1960s across three sites, NWCS is being replaced in July 2006 by two City Academies.

Artist Faisal AbduAllah (b.1969) has been in residence at NWCS for the past two years, developing a body of work in collaboration with the students. The resulting large-scale portraits of the rich and diverse communities within the school reveal its social structure, history and architecture.
Christian Boltanski (b.1944) is one of the most significant French artists of his generation. In 1992, he made portraits of the entire year of North Westminster Community School. For Dis-assembly, he re-sites this work at the entrance to the school alongside frames for all 144 pupils who are being re-traced and photographed by Faisal AbduAllah.

Hungarian-French architect Yona Friedman (b.1923) is one of the worlds leading urbanists, renowned for his huge utopian superstructures, conceptually superimposed over existing cities and locations all over the world. His vision for architecture as social transformation will be brought to the UK for the first time with a spectacular architectural intervention for the school, which has been realised in collaboration with the 2,000 pupils.

The artist and filmmaker Runa Islam (b.1970) is in the process of developing a new film work that features a selection of the students from NWCS, aged between 15 and 18, as its main protagonists. With the working title Conditional Probability, the film will reflect some of the real-life stories and experiences of the students using dramatic narrative conventions and the familiar methods of soap opera, reality TV and documentary cinema.

Notes to editors

Serpentine Gallery Projects build dynamic relationships between art, artists and the public. Projects and events vary in scale, duration and location, challenging expectations of where art can be encountered and by whom.

Formed in 1980, North Westminster Community School is a mixed comprehensive for students aged between 11 and 18. Based across three sites in central London, the school is much bigger than most secondary schools, with 1,932 students. The Serpentine is working with the staff, students, local community, developers and architects of the City Academies to deliver Dis-assembly.
Launch: Thursday 13 July 2006. 4-8pm. Speech 6.30pm David Lammy, Minister for Culture. North Westminster Community School, Marylebone Lower House, Penfold Street, London NW8 6RX

Exhibition: 14 – 29 July 2006. 12-6pm Tuesday-Saturday, Admission free
Underground: Edgware Road
Dis-assembly has been awarded a grant (of £50,000) by The Heritage Lottery Fund under the Your Heritage programme.
For press information please contact:
Rose Dempsey or Tom Coupe, 020 7298 1520/8
rosed@serpentinegallery.org, tomc@serpentinegallery.org www.serpentinegallery.org/special_projects.html

Serpentine Gallery

July 17, 2006

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