Based in the Horsefair area of the Broadmead shopping centre which is linked into the Cabot Circus development, the works produced by Leo Fitzmaurice as part of the BS1 programme of public interventions explored the way in which these uniformly designed shop units had been altered to express the individuality of the retailers who occupied them.
Originally built in the 1960s, these shop units are similar in style, with many having been identical. Over the years, the shop windows within the units had been ‘modernised’ by resident leaseholders to create a range of solutions to the problems of how to break up a given rectangular aperture.
This aspect of the retail spaces was Leo Fitzmaurice’s starting point. His interest in the intersection between art, architecture, and design resulted in a series of ‘alternative’ window displays rooted in a variety of architectural and art movement styles from Neo-Tudor, Constructivist, and De Stijl.
In taking these particular shop windows as an opportunity to think about a physical interface between architecture and graphic design, Leo Fitzmaurice sought to encourage in equal measures, thought about the physicality of a building and the layout of an image/text: the shop windows being the point at which the building structure dissolves into the design of a brand.
Fitzmaurice’s work is characterised by a desire to reorganise the everyday and familiar. He re-presents our world to make us look again at what we take for granted. In his work there is often an instant recognition combined with a playful delight as the familiar is unsettled.
Leo Fitzmaurice was born in Shropshire in 1963 and studied in Liverpool and Manchester. His work has been included extensively in group exhibitions in the UK and internationally including; ‘The Way We Do art Now’, Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin (2010); ‘Undone’, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2010); ‘Good Riddance’, MOT, London (2008); ‘Flyersflagsheepself’, Seventeen Gallery, London (2009); ‘Niet Normaal’, De Beurs Van Berlag, Amsterdam (2010). He has most recently had solo shows at The New Art Gallery Walsall and Cube Manchester.
Fitzmaurice was the winner of the 5th Northern Art Prize.
“Leaving the project flat in the centre of Broadmead I let my hands relax by my sides and I take a deep breath. In a way this helps me to be objective or rather it allows me to feel myself as an object entering the space of the city. In this state I am relatively impervious to the functioning of the shops, to their intrusive cloying and subtle manipulation, and yet my sense opens out to a fuller experience of the situation. In this way I am not merely seduced by the environment, but feel like an active participant excited by the possibility of new relationships within the fabric of the centre. In this state there is rarely a physical exchange. I am open to alternate ways. I leave with ideas not goods.”Leo Fitzmaurice