Trust Me
Paul Boudens (3 September – 3 October 2010)

Trust Me was an installation celebrating two decades of design by Antwerp-based Paul Boudens, commissioned by The Wapping Project for the London Design Festival.

Well, in 2009 I arranged for Jules to be in the jury of the Antwerp Fashion Academy (after all, she had organised two exhibitions and turned out to be an excellent promoter for the school), so we went to dinner the day before. In the middle of our conversation, Jules simply asked me ‘if I would be interested in doing an exhibition at the Wapping Project’. I think I had a complete brain meltdown because I totally ignored her question and rattled on our previous topic – so she had to ask me again! This was in June, and by December I was in a panic. What the hell was I going to do? I didn’t want to show the real work, which had either disappeared, or been damaged, and anyway the space needed something larger. I contacted Bob Verhelst, the scenographer responsible for the Fashion Museum’s [MoMU, Fashion Museum Antwerp] outstanding exhibition on Maison Martin Margiela [2008]. We discussed the spaces and the way we wanted to present my work, and luckily we were on the same page.

I had the idea of a ‘hovering, menacing space’ within the large Wapping space, and first we were thinking of letting that space ‘float’ in the middle of the first big room, but we quickly had to let go of that idea. It would never pass the safety rules, and it would be technically impossible. We decided to put everything on a base of scaffolding, creating a room within a room, wallpapered completely in my work, floor included. The outside was covered in debris, painted black. I loved Bob’s idea to open up the small staircase when you enter the room, and build a small walking bridge to the exhibition space. Top lighting made sure I got as close to the idea of the ‘hovering’ space as possible. For the second, back room, we went for installations of wood and debris, also painted black, on top of which a large selection of posters and invitations were pasted. The installations looked crummy and about to fall over, but they were so cleverly made they were very strong. Subdued lighting made for an intriguing atmosphere.

Paul Bordens, interview with Imogen Eveson for The Wapping Project on Paper book