Ancestral Awakening

Architect Sarah Entwistle revives her late grandfather in New York exhibition

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New York City’s Signs and Symbols art gallery will present an autobiographical exhibition by English artist and architect Sarah Entwistle that looks at the legacy of her late grandfather, Clive Entwistle. Shown: Sarah Entwistle's show at Etage Projects in Copenhagen (Courtesy Etage Projects)
New York City’s Signs and Symbols art gallery will present an autobiographical exhibition by English artist and architect Sarah Entwistle that looks at the legacy of her late grandfather, Clive Entwistle. Shown: Sarah Entwistle's show at Etage Projects in Copenhagen (Courtesy Etage Projects)

New York City’s new Signs and Symbols art gallery will present an autobiographical exhibition by British artist and architect Sarah Entwistle. The art installation, titled It may prove a mere accident that we met, or it may prove a necessity, explores the work of Sarah’s late grandfather and troubled architect, Clive Entwistle, who died in 1976 before having met her. While Clive had once worked alongside Le Corbusier and was the lead designer of the original plan for Madison Square Garden, most of his projects were never completed. The exhibition stems from Clive’s only successful work, the Transportation and Travel Pavilion for New York’s 1964 World’s Fair, and it revolves around an image of a staged trade fair interior that he designed. In order to recreate the vision of her late grandfather, as well as revitalize his architectural legacy, Sarah displays rich and varied artifacts from Clive’s most ambitious designs in a way that is reminiscent of a mise-en-scéne. Relics include ceramics, elaborate architectural models, furniture prototypes, intricate drawings, a large handwoven tapestry, and photographic portraits of women accompanied by extensive correspondences with lovers.

Sarah received her late grandfather’s personal belongings in 2011, after they had been unearthed from a Manhattan storage room where they sat untouched for over 30 years. Before then, she had little knowledge of his legacy, as he was absent from her life.



Through the project and exhibition, Sarah attempts to simultaneously revive and reinterpret her grandfather and his work, breathing new life into his biography by integrating it with her own.

Sarah noted, “each action from within the archive cleaves me further from the gravitational pull of my grandfather’s complex legacy, with its meta-narrative of failure and erasure, towards a re-emergence, where that which has been consigned to the past is re-embodied and re-imagined.”

Sarah Entwistle’s exhibition will open on March 3 at Signs and Symbols gallery in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. She is also developing a new installation for the Zevaco House in Casablanca, Morocco, in collaboration with curator Salma Lahlou.

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