On a recent trip to London I had one evening and a day to explore, but how much art can you see, in the middle of a bizarre Autumnal heat-wave? As long as there is some beer to accompany it, quite a bit it seems!
Audio Obscura by Lavinia Greenlaw is a project produced by Artangel, set for the time-being in St.Pancras International Station. I spent a contemplative half hour watching the world go by, listening to the fragmented stories of unknown strangers through a borrowed head-set.
Moving on to Hackney Wick I ascended to the Elevator Gallery and proceeded to sign my life away, or at least my right to complain should I lose it, or a limb. Ben Woodeson’s twitter handle is @benisdangerous and it is not hard to see why. For his show ‘Causality’ he has populated the gallery with a series of works that self-destruct, or randomly operate – swinging paint tins, spinning beams of nail brushes, smashing glass, burning words. Even the bar was electrified.
After half-an-hour in the show, I was beginning to feel distinctly edgy, I narrowly missed being hit by the swooping rubber band (scarier than it sounds) and felt a tension building every time the nails swung round or someone got too close to the wide open goods-door.
I left being distinctly thankful that trials like this do not always exist in my everyday life, but aware that some people in the world negotiate these risks all the time. David Cameron should take a visit to the show, before pursuing his crusade against Health and Safety policy!
More images of Ben Woodeson’s ‘Causality’ exhibition are in his Axis portfolio.
Moving on a day and to the south of the river, a stroll around Deptford X turned up some excellent surprises. Stumbling into the Utrophia Project Space I found a band called At Stations ‘Channelling the Machine’ (both the name of the event and an apt description of their activity) with Ben Parry’s ‘The Deptford Machine’ – a kinetic mass of objects donated by shopkeepers in Deptford.
A little harder to pin-point, Blue Curry’s exhibition ‘TROVE’ in the Salvation Army Shop required some careful seeking amongst the debris of other people’s cast-offs. Lurking on shelf-tops, amongst old shoes and proudly sitting in the window display were a cast of simple sculptures. Constructed from items that you could easily source in the shop itself, often with added sea-shells, the forms of the sculptures elegantly rose out of the tat.
You can see more work from Ben Parry in his Axis portfolio.
Blue himself later appeared whilst I was visiting Bearspace, just a few doors down from the charity shop. Here the visceral work of Matthew McGuinness draws directly from (and on) his day job as a cook. He draws on used tea-towels creating homages to his life which is packed with art, music and cooking. Director and curator Julia Alvarez is also the driving force behind the fabulous South London Art Map – a must have for any trip to this burgeoning area of art galleries and project spaces.
Heading back east, my art-viewing companion and I had an appointment for another Artangel project, the Locked Room Scenario by Ryan Gander. In an unassuming warehouse in Hoxton there is a group show but you can’t quite see it. With each detail fabricated from start to finish you enter the show not knowing what is real, and you leave it knowing less than when you entered. Corridors disappear before your eyes; chatting students become sinister presences as they press themselves against locked doors, too eager, too engaged. The ‘show’ is locked; you can only see fragments, details, distant glimpses.
Walking away from the warehouse, someone runs up behind us and hands a note we have dropped. Neither of us had seen it before.