Lawrence in Fitzrovia @ Fitzrovia Chapel, London, UK, 26 January – 9 February 2024 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, February 27th, 2024  

Mozart Estate, Felt

Lawrence in Fitzrovia @ Fitzrovia Chapel, London, UK, 26 January – 9 February 2024,

Jan 27, 2024 Photography by Steve Gullick Web Exclusive
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Over two weeks, the visitors of the Fitzrovia Chapel will witness Lawrence In Fitzrovia, a sculpture by Corin Johnson, modelled after the eponymous frontman of Mozart Estate and formerly Felt, Denim, Go-Kart Mozart. Given the underground celebrity status of the model, the private unveiling ceremony, scheduled a day before the opening, gathers renowned visitors.

“It feels like a pilgrimage”, said Miki Berenyi, formerly of Lush now of Piroshka, while stepping over the threshold between the church’s nave and the altar. Behind her, a line of equally famous guests, music enthusiasts and industry professionals, queued to see the sculpture of Lawrence. Placed in the former sanctuary, the Portuguese pink marble bust matches the tint of titles and shimmering mosaics on the church’s vaults. Standing on the side is the real Lawrence, whose everlasting dreams of fame were perfectly summed up in the 2012 documentary “Lawrence Of Belgravia” where the artist says: “I want to live in that fame and celebrity bubble. The day I don’t have to go on the tube anymore will be the day I celebrate”. With all cameras and attention directed at him, this is likely to be that day. A minute later he is approached by the founding member and frontman of Primal Scream Bobby Gillespie. The two pose for cameras with trademark stern looks.

Hidden behind the facade of bleak office buildings and residential blocks of Fitzroy Place, the Grade II-listed Fitzrovia Chapel is certainly a liminal space where reality and illusion co-exist. Still, the presence of more than a hundred guests at the private viewing gives some idea about the cult following around Lawrence. Miki Berenyi tells Under The Radar appreciation for Felt came through Phil King, who played with the band before joining Lush as a bassist in 1992. Bobby Gillespie admits he has been a long-time fan, yet refuses to tell more.

The fittingly gothic accompaniment to the procession is provided by Go-Kart Mozart’s Terry Miles playing the band’s songs on the Fitzrovia Chapel organ. Meanwhile, Corin Johnson provides insight into his work. The sculptor is not new to working with celebrities. His previous commission was from Nick Cave whose statue was erected in Warracknabeal, Australia. In 2017, Johnson approached Lawrence at a Go-Kart Mozart concert at London’s Moth Club with an idea to create a marble bust. The artist agreed and sat through a midwinter at the artist’s studio in Camberwell. The result is stunning. Captured with his idiosyncratic attributes, a visor, hood and sunglasses, the marble Lawrence emits a sense of urban asceticism, perseverance and inimitable artistic vision.

“He’s got a vision”, admits journalist and writer Will Hodgkinson, also present at the ceremony. “The only thing I could compare it to is a book called Hunger by Hamsun Knut in which the unknown writer of the book would rather starve than start doing their vision. And I think that sums up Lawrence entirely.”

For more information on the Lawrence in Fitzrovia exhibition visit the Official Website.


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