Permanent Commissions

  • Tris Vonna-Michell
    'Tiles & Tides'

As part of a series of artist commissions launched to coincide with the opening of the new Focal Point Gallery in autumn 2013, Tris Vonna-Michell has been asked to design and produce a bespoke reception desk for the entrance foyer.

Drawing aesthetic parallels with the distinctive architectural features of the current Southend Central Library, the desk will house a collection of ephemera and printed matter relating to a lost tourist attraction 'Never Never Land', a mythical fun park which opened in 1935 and was an important feature of Southend’s seafront until its closure in 2001. The desk will form the first point of contact with the organisation for visitors, and help distribute and communicate interpretive material surrounding its artistic programme.

Vonna-Michell was born in Rochford and brought up on the border of Westcliff-on-Sea and Leigh-on-Sea. Much of the artist’s work refers to the social and political histories of world cities, yet contains cognitive relapses back into his formative years in Essex. The artist’s solo exhibition, 'No more racing in

circles — just pacing within lines of a rectangle' at Focal Point Gallery in 2010, was the result of a three-month residency period in Southend, and expanded the artist’s set of narratives around the east coast to become a rumination on the recent history of a town that’s undergoing a radical transformation through dramatic regeneration.

Vonna-Michell was born in Southend-on-Sea in 1982, and lives and works in Stockholm. He has exhibited at institutions such as Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea (2010), Halle für Kunst, Lüneburg (2009), Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (2009), Kunsthalle Zürich, Zürich (2008), Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (2006).