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  • Writer's pictureRomina Rosso

Andrew Baldwin and Trinity Buoy Wharf

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

Trinity Buoy, exhibition“Andrew Baldwin: Random Stories In Metal”(09 January 2021 - 22 January 2021), detail
Trinity Buoy, exhibition“Andrew Baldwin: Random Stories In Metal”(09 January 2021 - 22 January 2021), detail

Trinity Buoy Wharf is a special place in the east side of London by the confluence of the River Thames and Bow Creek on the Leamouth Peninsula. It is the place of the last lighthouse in the city that was used by Michael Faraday who carried out his first experiments in electric lighting for lighthouses.

The Corporation of Trinity House was established in the XVI century and since then it has been the famous company responsible for lighthouses in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. Trinity House is also responsible for the provision and maintenance of other navigational aids, such as lightvessels, buoys, and maritime radio/satellite communication systems.

Trinity House had its headquarters in a fine building in the City designed by James Wyatt in 1798, and established Trinity Buoy Wharf as its Thames-side workshop in 1803.

In 1869, Trinity House set up an engineering establishment at Trinity Buoy Wharf to repair and test the new iron buoys then coming into use.

Trinity Buoy 1927, from the river
Trinity Buoy, Container-studio

In 1998, Trinity Buoy Wharf was an empty, derelict site not anymore used as a Wharf.

With careful adaption and regeneration, Trinity Buoy Wharf has kept its character whilst offering modern amenities with new, innovative and sustainable Container City buildings.

Now it is a place with studios for people in the creative industries, The Royal Drawing School, workspace for people who work to provide transportation on the river, classrooms for education, and indoor and outdoor spaces for arts events and a wide range of activities from conferences to product launches.

Trinity Buoy Wharf is an inspiring part of London’s Docklands, buzzing with creativity and artists.

The creative, poetic and imaginative spirit of Trinity Buoy is in grand part due to the steel creations by the artist Andrew Baldwin. He trained as a Master Blacksmith and Welder and worked as such for 28 years.

His interest in Victorian engineering, his limitless imagination and his aptitude for working metal are what motivates him to create his outlandish kinetic mechanical marvels.

Kinetic sculpture, is art from any medium that contains movement perceivable by the viewer or depends on motion for its effect.

In the 20th century the use of actual movement, kineticism, became an important aspect of sculpture with artists as Naum Gabo, Marcel Duchamp, László Moholy-Nagy, Alexander Calder and Nicholus Takis.

The aim of most kinetic sculptors is to make movement itself an integral part of the design of the sculpture and not merely to impart movement to an already complete static object.

Andrew Baldwin’s art is predominantly of kinetic sculptures.

Artist based in Sandwich, he has a strong connection to east London and specially to Trinity Buoy.

There he has several permanently works on display and on January 2021 he had his solo show titled “Andrew Baldwin: Random Stories In Metal” (09 January 2021 - 22 January 2021).

The show is an eclectic collection of pieces, each with its own story and inspiration, illuminated in an array of colours against the dramatic riverside view.

Andrew Baldwin, Lerwick Horn
Andrew Baldwin, Lighthouse

Andrew Baldwin, Lighthouse

The first work titled Lerwick Horn, it is a 9-foot horn prefabricated from a mixture of mild and stainless steel. It is fitted with an electric motor with an attached button. Pressing this green button for 5 seconds will cause a deep resonant note. A foghorn or fog signal is a device that uses sound to warn vehicles of navigational hazards such as rocky coastlines, or boats of the presence of other vessels, in foggy conditions. This evokes memories of the foggy conditions the artist experienced in Lerwick whilst sailing in the North Sea in his hand-built yacht Scary Mary 1.

Andrew Baldwin, Fish aqua gill

The loved for maritime things it is to be seen in other of his works as the two lighthouses that are copies of the Trinity Buoy one, in the bizarre almost steampunk Fish aqua gill and the Dolphin that rides a bicycle across a tightrope. The dolphin is about human-size, maybe a little taller and it rides on a chain. The artist said he had the idea in one of his ship voyages where he had a quite a big storm, didn’t eat for a while and started hallucinating while he saw a lot of dolphins.

Andrew Baldwin, Dolphin that rides a bicycle across a tightrope

The work Houses, a piece that splits in different habitations, was inspired by the cuts to funding for homeless charities following the banking crisis in 2008.

Andrew Baldwin, Houses

One of the most stunning and almost surrealist pieces is a London taxi with a metal apple tree growing through its roof, originally commissioned for Orchard Place leading to Trinity Buoy Wharf, and now place on the roof of the coffee shop at the entrance of Trinity Buoy.

Human figures are also part of his works. Two beautiful women metal figures are holding up a staircase in the entrance, another is a special machine that creates from a steel woman half-lenght sculpture a copy in wood and the last is a two circles structure with a body that separated and unified to create a Vitruvian Woman.

Andrew Baldwin, London taxi with a metal apple tree
Andrew Baldwin, woman holding up a staircaise, detail

Andrew Baldwin, The Vitruvian Woman

Andrew Baldwin, the half-lenght sculpture machine

Another curious subject is his fascination with ornithopters and flight.

A new sculpture place permanently on display is The Angel, an angel woman who flies by flapping her wings.

Andrew Baldwin, The Angel
Andrew Baldwin, Daedalus & Son

The idea of the wings and flight come back in his Daedalus & Son a huge structure wing, emblem of the famous myth about the symbol of the human arrogance and the courage to risk.

Using the word of the poet Atticus in Lover her Wild: “She was afraid of heights but she was much more afraid of never flying”.

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