Memories For The Future (Balfron Tower 2).

Nickel Sulphate, Copper Sulphate, Selenium Dioxide,

Ammonium Chloride & Calcium Hypochlorite

on 24 Carat Gold Plated Etched Copper Plate

Dimensions: 170 x 120 x 4mm

Charlie Warde, 2013

This series of copper plates, depicting buildings by Goldfinger in London, have been industrially machined and polished, photo etched, gold-plated and treated with chemicals to encourage tarnish and patination. The complex and varied processes involved in building the pieces reflect themes of memory, utopia and decay in Modernist architecture that will underpin my 2013 residency at 2 Willow Road.

Each postcard-sized vignette diminishes the scale of the buildings to subdued personal dimensions. They are intimate objects, surrogates for the idealism behind Britain’s post war Utopian drive to build for a better world. Goldfinger’s buildings are plated in gold, a material at odds with Modernism’s functionality and disregard for ornament; a metal valueless in Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, reserved for unclean objects such as chamber pots. Gold is unblemishable and ageless. The golden areas of the plates are pure and untarnished, unlike the other buildings and landscaped elements etched into the copper. These are created by the chemical process of oxidisation, a speculative alchemical act of applying multiple microscopic layers of chemical compounds to age and scar the surface. Oxidisation destroys and enhances copper’s properties; it is an intervention that redefines the precisely etched lines.

Memories For The Future both commemorate and question Goldfinger’s utopian legacy. They are nostalgic keepsakes exploring Modernism’s prescriptive idealism within the decaying dystopia of a concrete reality.