What can be defined as temporary architecture? A pavilion, a temporary exhibition, a folly or a pop up? The urban environment has become home to numerous temporary architectural interventions. Often innovative and experimental, these sites can create an opportunity to question our understanding of both historical and contemporary architecture. I never imagined it could be like this, is an exhibition of new work by British artist Jonathan McCree. It continues the long legacy of temporary architecture and how it opens up possibilities, challenging notions of what architecture could be and how we might act within it.

Jonathan McCree is a multi-disciplinary artist who works with painting, sculpture, film, installation and live performance. His artistic practice attempts to push the boundaries around traditional notions of architecture and demonstrates how experimental practice can help uncover new strategies for exploring spatial qualities and ideas. Throughout his career, Jonathan has repeatedly used sacred architecture as both location and subject matter in his practice he is interested in how as viewers we are meant to relate to sacred architecture. “Are we supposed to bow down in front of it, peer up at it? How are our bodies choreographed and how do the spaces feel, particularly if we are not sympathetic to the belief system underpinning them? I’m conscious of the effects on our emotions, bodies and our imagination.” Jonathan McCree, 2021

Working with cut and folded cardboard, painted in semi-gloss, high key colour, Jonathan comments “I didn’t want to make three-dimensional versions of my paintings. I didn’t want to repurpose their expressive language.” These sculptures have a playfulness apparent not only in their colour and materials but also in the possibility for multiple configurations. Each iteration offers up a new experience of sculpture as more than the sum of its parts.

Suggestive of screens, altars, columns and even buttresses, the placement of each sculptural component, will choreograph our movement around the gallery. We are invited to step over pieces which lie horizontally on the floor and walk around the horizontal and vertical groups which lean against the walls. Upon entering the gallery, you are immediately immersed in Jonathan’s artwork. “Whereas my paintings sit on a wall, working with sculpture has meant my work shares a space with an audience.” Jonathan McCree, 2021. Working with cardboard has given Jonathan the opportunity to contemplate his making process, embracing the corrugated edges and uneven surface of this ordinary material and to think through the visual language of reductive geometry as well as the nature of repetition and industrial fabrication.