March First Thursday then, let’s go explore once more, let’s go find the positive, had something to say about the negative yesterday, something about how now that the twin focal points of Vyner Street and Redchurch Street are all but lost to gentrification and property development (we won’t mention the lime poison again, others are starting to see though all that spin now). So First Thursday is now pretty much like any other Thursday evening in East London, of course you can still find lots of art and lots of openings at galleries and art spaces on any given Thursday evening in East London, just not that exciting concentration of events and that party feel on two once very busy buzzing, very exciting art-packed streets.
Last night’s plan was to make for the meeting point of Kingsland Road and the colourful promise of that show at Hoxton Gallery, and then see where else the evening would take us. Covering everything is impossible of course, East London is a big place, we’ve only got three hours, most galleries are officially open from 6pm until 9pm on a First Thursday, some maybe open a little later, 9pm is generally the cut off time though, no way we can go everywhere and get to everything this evening. We did make it to around a dozen galleries last night, rushing around the East End exploring, searching, discovering. We didn’t make it to a number of shows we wanted to check out, we found some we hadn’t intended to go to, we dropped art, we drank cocktails, we bumped in to people, fell over people, we had an adventure, art exploring on a Thursday in East London is always an adventure, and so it should be, art is a serious thing, art should be fun, here’s some of what we encountered, the serious bits, the fun….
Kingsland Road was the starting point, the much anticipated Bicicleta Sem Freio show at Hoxton Gallery, hang on though, before we explore what the Brazilians have to offer, a quick dive in to the Melody Grossman Apparent Abstractions solo show at Rolling Stock over on the other side of the street Really wouldn’t have known this one was on without the press release invite before hand, not obvious that there’s a gallery hiding somewhere in this rather garish bar, indeed we almost give up on looking for it, hidden as it was, off in a side room with no signs or indications. Actually this is a neat little side space and one or two interesting pieces of painterly abstraction on the walls, not everything is great, she feels like a painter still finding her feet, one or two strong impressive pieces though, something here worth keeping an eye on, a painter pushing herself, exploring, “Melody’s work currently examines the relationship between painting and photography”.
We were rather looking forward to the debut London solo show from Brazilian art duo Bicicleta Sem Freio. Those wonderful bricks and textures of the Hoxton Gallery walls, along with the neon and the street lighting from the street outside, always make for a good looking atmospheric show, especially at this time of year, really like this space. Kind of expected something more expansive, bigger pieces, grander statements. What we actually get is conservatively sized pieces, something more akin to comic book illustration than street art statement. Bold acid-flavoured colour, those black outlines really do give the pieces that comic book feel. if pop art illustration and slick comic book art does it for you then i guess this is a rather fine show, you should get along, comic books are not my thing, it all feels a little safe in here, a little too slick, this is a good show, just not quite what we want tonight, let’s go see what else we can find…
Tried to catch the Stefan Friedli and Ulrik Martin Larsen show at KK Outlet in Hoxton Square, another artistic duo, from Copenhagen, Denmark, they go under the name PutPut. Seems they hadn’t finished setting up in time, we can see through the window, but the the door is still locked, “come back in about fifteen minutes” she says, and well, on to find next place and drop off the the first of the night’s #365ArtDrops, on the outside of Sh! in Hoxton Square Now we’re really not fans of ZAP and the way those Zietgeist Art project people cynically exploit artists, we’re not going to let that stop us checking out the artists in their shows though. Rare to find a ZAP event actually open, their group show at the small Standpoint Gallery in Coronet Street is actually open tonight, a beautifully put together show, a show called No-one Lives in the Real World, a show in a delightful gallery, love the way the lift is used, love the lift’s old wooden floor, this is an excellent space
“No-one Lives in the Real World is an exhibition about incongruous spaces, absurd structures and fragile worlds featuring artists who share an affinity for the use of collage in their work – both the literal cutting out and sticking down or the re-assembling of elements from different times and contexts including art history, architecture, literature, nature and technology. Through the mediums of sculpture, drawing, painting, print, photography, video and installation we encounter conversations about imperfection, fragility and otherness” .
No-one Lives in the Real World is a beautifully hung, beautifully curated, beautifully put together show, there’s some delightful work in here, some strong pieces, clever elements, there’s considered relationships between the pieces, individual pieces that demand your time. If only the ZAP people were a little less cynical in the way they treat artists and run their open calls, hard to enthuse about this fine show when you know how things are run…
Over at Cock’n Bull, the gallery space in the Basement of Tramshed (Rivington Street), there’s some deadly cocktails being handed out, while an Italian artist called Raul has a solo show.
“Raul popped down to the CNB Gallery one afternoon last autumn with a vibrant sketchbook rammed, full to bursting, with energetic faces. As we flicked through the pages Raul spontaneously began draw his gestures upon some scrap paper in front of us, an automatic act. We knew this was what the CNB Gallery was all about. The surge of energy depicted in each gesture is so essential to living in the present, with retaliation to any monotony of the everyday. Prepare to be struck by the liberty and essentiality of Raul’s work that we believe exists far beyond just the walls of our gallery.” (Rebecca Lidert)
Raul’s home is an Italian town called Pescara, tonight he is “previewing a new body of work” in the basement space. Raul’s previous show We Are.The Revolution (title inspired by the politically active artist Joseph Beuys) was exhibited at the 2011 Miami Art Basel. “In both shows Raul uses faces as the form to encapsulate his ethos – an energetic drive, a primordial need to create and contest the society compiled around us. Our creative outputs allow us to escape, to battle, to resist being swept without noise or question through life from ‘A’ to ‘B.’ But, who are the people behind the faces Raul depicts? They are you, me and us. We are the faces that inspire him, the rebellious souls, sometimes masked, that remain fighting”
Is it right to say this is a fun show? It is an accessible show, there’s a simple energy here, you might almost say Raul’s style is primitive, certainly very human, if it is primitive, then cleverly so, positively so, a thousand faces. Fun does not mean throwaway or trivial, well worth dropping in and enjoying the faces, the walls (and the floor), can’t say the show is anything revolutionary, nothing vital happening here, a show worthy of the space afforded it though…
A walk over to Redchurch Street, surely Studio 1.1 will have their red doors open wide? Let’s see what else we can find on the way (and let’s hang another part or two of #365ArtDrops on the way), A.I. Gallery have a pop up show on in Redchurch Street at the moment, a solo show from Sarah Choo Jing that opened last week and runs until March 15th, good tp see this space (next door to the pub) being used again, can’t remember there being a show in here for a good few years. “known for her immersive panoramas and predilection of the prosaic. The artist is interested in the act of looking, surveillance and voyeurism. In doing so, Choo confronts viewers with a slow burn view of everyday life within contemporary urban society. Her oeuvre includes photography, video and installation”.
“The exhibition title, From Across the Road, references not only the physical distance in which the artist retains between her subjects, but also her concern with observing the role and relationship between spectator and performer. Works selected are from three recent series: Waiting for the Elevator (2014), Puddles in the City (2014), and It was a Tuesday, like any other Tuesday (2014). They are presented side-by-side for the first time and accompanied by a copy of the artist’s journal, Accelerated Intimacy, in which she annotates the thought process behind her works”.
Sarah Choo Jing’s show is busy (in terms of the people in here), the room is dark, there’s too many elbows, it looks intriguing, beautiful observations indeed, her work isn’t busy, her work is inviting, it needs to be viewed silence and solitude, obvious to say it, it is meant as compliment though, there’s a touch of a Edward Hopper here, need to come back and explore Sarah Choo Jing‘s observations a little more, we shall be back, this looks to be an excellent show., something special here to go back and explore
Studio 1.1 is open of course, the artist-run space still defiantly there, surrounded by fancy designer shops now rather than other galleries, always pleasing to see their red door open (and it almost always is). There’s a Gill Ord show in in the space right now (on until March 29th), Instinctive paintings, almost old school paintings, positively so….
We jsut about catch th Hoxton Mini Press Presentation of Jenny Lewis: One Day Young at Boxpark, tonight is the launch of he latest addition to Hoxton Mini Press’s East London Photo Stories Series of beautifully formed little books ““My aim was to capture the extraordinary bonding, warmth and strength between mother and infant. In fact the whole range of amazing emotions felt at that time, as the mothering instinct kicks in.” says Jenny Lewis. “I find the collection of images defiant and beautiful, challenging the expected vision of those first twenty-four hours, a pure celebration of what it means to be a mother.” We’ve missed the main exhibition though, things are starting to close, First Thursday is drawing to an end There’s no time to get over to the Sam Peacock or make it to Sunday In Park with Ed over at Display (well it is only Thursday).
We explored, we found some art, (we dropped some art) we enjoyed some art, some shows we need to return to, First Thursday isn’t what it once was, the social event and the street party atmosphere has gone now, the thing has evolved, it really is about exploring the art now, searching out the galleries (planning a route), and of course exploring the layers on the street walls, catching a paste up here, a bit of Binty Bint there, the Redchurch Street layers, the walls just beyond Boxpark, First Thursday has evolved, the streets are still alive, see you next Thursday, no need to wait for the First one…. (SW)
Click on an image to enlarge or rum the slide show….