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Lawrence in Fitzrovia

For two weeks from January 26th to February 9th Fitzrovia Chapel in Soho has become home to a marble statue of enigmatic frontman Lawrence. Known for his bands Felt, Denim and Mozart Estate (formerly Go Kart Mozart) the musician was re-fashioned in pink Portugese marble by artist Corin Johnson, whose previous subjects include musician Nick Cave.


In marble form Lawrence wears his trademark cap under which rest dark shades, his face is
shrouded by an imposing hood, reminiscent of a quirked-up 21st-century style monk. His bust is a
complimentary centre piece to the chapel itself, which is adorned with religious iconography and
elaborate gold-painted ceilings.


Guests were invited to join Lawrence and a panel hosted by music journalist Will Hodgkinson, for
an evening of discussion about, and musings from the man himself. Hodgkinson reminisced on his
time spent with Lawrence roaming through London suburbs. Specifically their time in Welling
where the duo were accosted by some local teens and later in Waltham Cross, where Lawrence
considered getting a job at Fishpools, “a very nice furniture shop.” Hodgkinson later recalls
Lawrence’s equally unexpected declaration of love to a bungalow.


“Lawrence was part of our language and our thinking from day one really,” commented filmmaker
Jane Pollard, “he was kind of like a living Warhol.” Artist Corin Johnson reflected on his
collaboration with the musician which took place over roughly four years after the pair were
introduced by a drummer for Mozart Estate, “he bears all in some kind of a way, that’s why I chose
him in this pose, in a kind of disguise.”


Whilst Lawrence is renowned for being enigmatic, this is due not to a mysterious disposition but
rather an eccentric one. An artist with an unwavering vision that hinges on perfectionism, Lawrence
works in exact measures. Yet, his career roadmap only ever had one final destination, which was
fame.


“It is quite saintly in that sense of a singular purpose, a life lived with a singular motivation”
filmmaker Iain Forsyth remarks, gazing up at marble Lawrence and reaching out to touch the base
of his statue, “it’s about transcendence, and I think this is a very transcendental piece.”

Photo by Steve Gullick


Discussion over and respects paid, real Lawrence took to the altar, looking as though he’d arrived
from a rave rather than a monastery. The musician donned a tasteful grey argyle knit sleeveless
jumper paired with a vibrant stripey trapper hat strapped over his signature dark shades and cap.


The discussion between Lawrence and Hodgkinson acted as a lament to fame whilst occasionally
unravelling into a sales pitch from the musician. “I mean we’re all doing projects, this is a project,
and last year we did a boulder, you know we made a boulder for kind of no reason” Lawrence
mused, and then continued “We still have 30 left online actually if anyone wants to buy one?”


“I’m trying to crawl up the ladder of fame, and sometimes I don’t even go one rung,” Lawrence
says, no doubt a pink marble bust ought to propel him up a few. Yet, for a musician whose
aspirations are firmly tied to the glitz and glamour of stardom, Lawrence is a man enamoured with
the mundane, “I’m very happy on my own, I’m in love with houses and things and bricks and
mortar.”


Lawrence and his mythical counterpart are a testimony to tenacity, where commercial success
may falter a saintlike statue and cult following will not.

 

26th Jan – 9th Feb 2024

Lawrence in Fitzrovia, part of the chapel’s 2024 cultural programme, will include a specially commissioned soundscape.

It is free to enter and you don’t need a ticket.
Open 11am to 6pm daily (closed Monday)

 

The Fitzrovia Chapel, 2 Pearson Square, London, W1T 3BF

@fitzroviachapel

@mozart.estate

 

Words and photos by Issy Wetter

 

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