Dalston House, the best funworks in London

THIS IS the kind of artwork — funwork, even — that wins hearts. Even as it was being installed in a busy cut-through in Dalston, passers-by could not help but stop and giggle with delight.

The work resembles a movie set. The bas-relief facade of a Victorian house has been laid on the ground in a space measuring about 11m by 7m. Six huge mirrors, imported from Belgium, are positioned near it at a 45-degree angle — effectively, a wall of glass that reflects the “house” front.

When visitors sit, stand or lie on the horizontal surface, their reflections in the mirror create the illusion that they are standing on or scaling a house face.

Once the facility opens, you can have yourself photographed looking as cool as Will and Jaden Smith in After Earth (Ageing readers can invoke Lori Petty in Tank Girl. Or Clint Eastwood in Where Eagles Dare. Or… Yes, yes, get on with it. — Ed.) It will be a great tourist attraction for Hackney.

Dalston house creator artist Leandro Erlich
Dalston house creator artist Leandro Erlich

Members of the team installing the artwork told Loving Dalston that setting it up was tricky but the joy of the result was rewarding.  [Youre paraphrasing. I can tell. — Ed.]

Photography is banned until the commissioner of the work, the Barbican, officially allows it, but, of course, contrary to an increasing misconception, public photography is legal.

Dalston House in Ashwin Street
Dalston House in Ashwin Street

Obviously, it is easier to say that when holding a press pass, so if you want to whip out your smartphone for a quick shot, why not wait until Wednesday 26 June 2013, when objections will not be raised?

The artwork, by an Argentinian, Leandro Erlich, will remind old people of House, a work by an English installationist called Rachel Whiteread that attracted queues of people to its Grove Road, Bethnal Green location before it was taken down. It was meant to be a temporary erection (no jokes, please).

Dalston House is part of the Beyond Barbican programme. Film screenings at the site will show other work in which Erlich has used the mirror concept.

Hamish Scott 

* Leandro Erlich: Dalston House1-7 Ashwin Street E8 3DL, Wed 26 June-Sun 4 Aug 2013. Free.

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

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