First published: Winter 2019
What inspired Carrie Reichardt to cover her London house with mosaic tiles?
Craftivist Carrie Reichardt has been subverting the consumer cycle, and how adverts take up public space. Her house is the centre of the West London-based art collective, The Treatment Rooms, which makes public art. Over 20 years, Reichardt has covered the house with mosaics, and two art cars she decorated, the “Tiki Love Truck” and the “Voodoo Zulu Liberation Taxi”, sit outside.
Carrie Reichardt’s house, Fairlawn Grove, Chiswick, 2019. A Cheshire Cat (top left) by Tamara Frowlin is part of an Alice in Wonderland theme. Towards the centre is an ‘English Hedonists’ plaque, made by Reichardt’s friend Eugene, to commemorate radicals and alternative figures
Her house has been featured in Time Out, the Guardian and other publications, including an online article which reveals “30 Hidden Secrets of Carrie Reichardt’s extraordinary mosaic house in Chiswick” and describes the meaning behind many of the designs.
In 1998 Reichardt decided, “to mosaic the house, just because I can. I’m sick of the visual pollution. If companies can pollute my world with something to make me feel bad about myself, I want want to take control of my little house.”
Originally, Reichardt wanted to study film-making, but there was no film course at her university, so she took a degree in sculpture before finding a way to tell stories – often based on life – in mosaics. She explained, “All my work at college was very feminist and autobiographical. But I left when I had a nervous breakdown. I really didn’t function. The minute I tried mosaicing I loved it, because it’s a meditative process.” This was the beginning of her attraction to craftivism, a socially radical form of activism through domestic arts.
Reichardt initially made community mosaics, but, she said, “With any form of public or community art, a steering committee tells you what you can and can’t do.” She needed creative freedom: “I was getting so frustrated. Then I read Fantasy Worlds [by John Maizels and Deidi von Schaewen; Taschen, 1999]. It’s my favourite book.” She explained, “20 years ago, I decided to mosaic my house with the absolute intention of making it an uncensored piece of public art. That couldn’t be bought or sold, and would remain for the public.”
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #104