“This work is an emotional response to how I have to leave my Hackney studio where I've spent the last decade and is about me trying to make sense of the situation,” explains Cocksedge, who began by carrying out scans of the foundations. “I wanted to dig into this boring grey floor and see what's been hiding there all these years.”
Various stones emerged, including flints and a dark red London brick from Victorian times – the markings indicate that it would have been used to stabilise horses' hooves, implying that the building would have once been a stables. These bricks have been combined with two other types of material to make two circular forms that have been been placed, one vertically and one horizontally, under a sheet of glass. Cocksedge titles this piece 'Double Core Table'.
Meanwhile, 'Exploded Core Table' is made of two large circles that have each been cut into 12 pieces. The fourth table, 'OffCuts Table', is made of small, cut-off pieces suspended in glass and resin. “Every piece of the floor became really valuable and important,” remarks Cocksedge.
Cocksedge has one month and a half left in his studio and is still looking for a new one. Is his landlord aware that there are excavated rings all over the floor? “No,” he replies. “If you try and get permission for everything, it takes the fun out of from things. I had to do it! We just went for it. My studio manager was working in a hotel room with a plank of wood on a bed as a desk that we would gather round for meetings.”
The fact that Cocksedge embarked on the project without a client meant that he co-financed the project. But it also brought him an incredible sense of freedom. “There are so many times when you can become a showman, an actor, because you have to say the right thing as there's a brand or a company paying for stuff,” he says, regarding industrial design. “All these pieces here are because of an idea and the passion of my team.” Has it been a cathartic, soul-searching journey? “Yes, and now there's a calmness at the end of all this,” Cocksedge notes.
'Paul Cocksedge, Excavation: Evicted' is at Fondazione Luigi Rovati, Corso Venezia 52, Milan
Open daily, from 11am-9pm, until 9 April 2017