1. Faith Hughes
  2. Ali Glover
  3. Christina Cushing
  4. Jos Nyreen
  5. Miriam Aston-Hetherington


  1. Jos Nyreen
  2. For _ (Visit to Primrose Hill)
  3. Primrose Hill, London
  4. 7th December 2023, 08:20 GMT

For _ (Visit to Primrose Hill) is a plywood and chewing gum work situated and left behind on the underneath of a bench on top of Primrose Hill at 08:20 GMT on the 7th December 2023. The journey up the hill was made together on foot from Chalk Farm underground station. 

Over a few months Nyreen and I had been chewing through ideas, talking about the cycles of making that go into their teeth works and how to find a place for them to be still. A public bench came up as a site often already littered with chewing gum underneath it, a way for us to integrate the rhythms of the work into an existing timeline of actions. We were drawn to Primrose Hill and its abundance of benches to choose from. Both of us had fond memories there, a nostalgic place from childhood or university days. Nyreen reminded me it was where Blur had filmed the For Tomorrow music video, introducing them to a version of the city before they had moved. This found its way into the title of the work.

A flat addition of wood is pressed beneath the bench, cold winter fingers crawling under the lip to find it. Growing like fungi out of its soft, dewy surface are pieces of chewing gum that have morphed into teeth. They are embedded in the reddish grain, as if they could have come first and the wood has formed itself around them. Further back two figures are carved, embracing into a kiss with a round form between their lips: a piece of chewing gum shared between lovers or a third figure born from the pair. It is hiding, this love letter, amongst the traces of other mouths. Pieces of gum that have not become teeth spread out along the underneath of the bench. From mouth to hand to seat, imprints of the self make connections to the outer world, a mark of within. At the front of the bench, like most others on Primrose Hill, is a metal plaque: For _ , passionate and creative.

The work draws an intentional connection to the existing plaque, proposed as an alternative version. Where the metal is visible and specific, For _ (Visit to Primrose Hill) is hidden away and anonymous in its dedication. Nyreen’s plaque is for everyone, for young lovers and their mouths, for the couples that will sit above it without knowing that it's there for them. It is a gesture of love. For the dwellers of the bench, the view ahead of them is underlined by the writing of William Blake carved into the stone edge which reads, I have conversed with the spiritual Sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill. Blake’s suggestion that this site could be a meeting place with the divine imbues the bench with a mystical possibility, that the quotidian could become the sublime. This echoes transformations already happening in the work. By returning the chewing gum to the world in a new form, Nyreen poses a spontaneous reincarnation, that perhaps all chewing gum is on its way to becoming teeth.

Nyreen’s other works inhabit a similar world, or different realms of it, where xylitol which is extracted from wood pulp to make chewing gum is chewed to reform teeth and reapplied to wood. Tooth becomes tooth, wood becomes wood in ever-looping cycles. Whilst each work exists within its own timeline, their shared motifs suggest that the teeth could start slipping in and out of each other’s realities. Perhaps the teeth growing out of the base of the bench will drop off to fill up Open up All that is Still inside, a wooden box work filled up with similar molars. This mythical world-building finds a harmony with the material choice of chewing gum, which carries its own un-swallowable rumours lest you risk it remaining undigested in your stomach for seven years. With this in mind, although the future of For _ (Visit to Primrose Hill) is uncertain, the chewing gum is ready to outlive the bench itself.

Jos Nyreen is a Finnish-Danish artist living in London. They graduated with a BA from the Slade School of Fine Art. Nyreen uses a variety of media and materials, focusing on painting, drawing and sculpture to build up a ‘mycelium’ of works through which these mediums form a network of exchange. Recent group exhibitions include ‘Scrying’ at Poriginal Gallery, Finland, ‘Thing Theory’ at 243 Luz, Margate and ‘Sandbox’ at SET Woolwich, London.