Maybe it really is about hanging out and being seen on the scene at the opening night? All about being seen at the “private view”? Why don’t galleries have signs? We do keep asking the same question as we try to find these places and spaces, why do they hide? Why no real information or even the simplest things like opening times on their websites other than for the open night and the “main event”? I don’t know much about 1963, they seem to be a roving gallery collective, popping up in different spaces and places, last couple of times I’ve encountered their shows they’ve been in that little space just down from BSMT Space gallery in Dalston, this time they’re in a really exciting looking wreck of a basement somewhere near Haggerston railway station here in Hackney, East London. The website/social media information for their latest show – a one year anniversary group show called Past, Present Future – is at best vague but the photos of the opening night made it look like a show not to be missed though, it looked like a show worth making the effort for. Trying to find opening hours is impossible without resorting to sending them a social media message and directly asking. Did really look like it was worth making the effort though, it did look good on various people’s social media feeds…
Trouble was, by the time we’ve walked over there and then walked around the block a few times looking for the vague address we’d been given and rather reasonable looking for some kind of sign or indication, finally after giving up the search and resorting to getting on-line again and then calling them, after all that, we finally come across the unmarked unnumbered unanything basement space that really offers no clue what-so-ever – you’re running a street art show for fug shake, surely one of you can drag a piece of junk off the street, spray paint “1963” and an arrow on it!? Surely you can do at least that? Do you want us to come see the art or not?
So after all the walking around the block and the searching and the looking in places that might be hiding the show, that and the web searches and the phone calls we finally find the space, or at least we think we do, we’ve walked past it a couple of times already and we’re close to giving up and going for a pint instead, by the time we’ve gone through all that and then gone down to the unmarked basement in the vague hope of finding the damn space and the show that we’re fast losing enthusiasm for – and then encountering the rather unfriendly attitude when we ask about the lack of any kind of sign or indication in response to their “do you have any questions guys?” question and then being told to “relax guys it’s about being cool and discovering it for yourselves” – what kind of bullshit is that?! By the time we’ve gone through all that, (and then almost fallen in to the rather dangerously unmarked pit full of filthy black oily water in the darkness), by the time we’ve gone through all that we’re really not in the right frame of mind for art, which is a damn shame because this is a rather good-looking art show.
Yes, this is a really good-looking show, an exciting show, a beautifully hung show, some really strong art – a label or two on the art might have been good, a clue in terms of who have painted what? Hey, enough moaning, don’t know who’s painted what, well some we recognise and some we don’t, some we’d like to know about but we don’t really feel like asking another question and getting some more attitude in return – this is a damn fine show though – I guess you’d call it urban art, street art, but some of this would not be out of place in a high-end contemporary gallery (some of it would be out of place). whatever you want to call it there’s some strong impressive art down here in the basement and the industrial fallout and the holes in the walls. Some damn fine contemporary art, some excellent painting, the obligatory bit of neon, I guess some people like it, really have seen enough neon in art galleries now. Those small squares over there are rather impressive (wonder who did them, label the art!), those big paintings over there are impressive – the artists involved are Pang, Skan, Citizenkane, Stefano Ronchi, Pakal, Alaniz, Oko, Gabriel Bodin, Helen Bur, Wasp Elder, Olivia Descampe, Diego Zelaya, Otto Schade – and yes, a rather impressive show, well hung, especially the bit in the basement down in the industrial grime and the dirt and the oil (besides that damn black hell-pit I didn’t see, how deep was that!?), the room upstairs isn’t quite so exciting in terms of the hang, it is in terms of the art.
We believe the show runs until Friday May 12th, and although they don’t tell you unless you call them to find out, the show is open until 7pm each day You find the show the small cobbled lane that is Acton Mews over the street from Haggerston Railway station front and parallel to the Kingland Road, down where the AAA gallery once stood, there’s a big silver metal door on the right as you walk down the lane, there’s no sign that the show might be down those steps but it is well worth making the effort and what the hell is the point in having a show if you hide it? Or is it really only about the cool people who know and come hang out and be part of the scene on the opening night? Do they don’t really not want the rest of us to bother coming out to see their damn art? Damn fine show though, let’s go have that pint and calm down a little, don’t really need to be told to relax and cop a load of attitude when we’ve bothered to make the effort to come see your damn (fine) show… (sw)
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