The Journal

The Body Creates A History

NoMad London invited Swiss-born artist Caroline Denervaud to Bow Street Magistrates’ Court prior to the renovation, to explore the bones of the building and to visualize its transformation through her kinetic artistic process. The paintings she created for the hotel are centerpieces of the richly layered guest room artwork programme curated by be-poles.

A lyric short film, “The Invitation,” tells the story of Caroline’s captivating exploration of the building and of NoMad London’s journey from dream to reality.

In “The Invitation,” as in Caroline Denervaud’s artistic practice, the story begins with movement. As she awakens in the Royal Opera House, her surroundings take shape and she is lured in an ethereal reverie from the grand entrance of that building, out to the bustling streets of Covent Garden and into the Bow Street Magistrates’ Court, future home to NoMad London.

“Movement came first in my life,” she says. Caroline began as a dancer and eventually found a new form of self-expression in painting. Over time, she sought a way to incorporate her former passion for dance into her process. “The body can be like a brush, can be the medium of expression,” she says of the immersive method she now employs for her large paintings.

"The body can be like a brush, can be the medium of expression. I can physically enter the paper and my whole being becomes the impulse."
Woman stretched on the floor, lying on canvas, painting a line with a broad brush

As she incorporated this sense of motion into the creation of her work, she began to see the connection between the traces left by human movement and the invisible stories they tell. “We sometimes don’t notice but everybody is moving in her or his own way and the body says something. It creates a little history. It’s something very simple but very personal.”

At NoMad London, these human pattern histories become entwined with the history of Covent Garden and the complex history of the building, a storied former courthouse and jail. “My paintings for the hotel were influenced by the feeling of this ancient building that is becoming new. I hope they create a new history being written through the feeling of the here and now. I really hope that someone who sees the work can be really herself or himself, tell her own story in front of this piece. I really want that person to feel free.”

In the final moments of the video, Caroline’s dream ends and she awakens in a world where the Bow Street Magistrates’ Court has been transformed; a new history begins to be written, a new freedom brought to life at NoMad London.

Woman sitting barefoot on canvas, facing wall with pray painted sign that says
Woman walking barefoot inside room with partially exposed brick walls and spray-painted arrows
Hotel room with bed, chair, screen, and large artistic painting resting against back wall