The Grotto at Ridley Road Project Space, London E8 – January 2022 – it was only on for a weekend, over on Ridley Road, by the market, and it did feel like a grotto, a purple grotto, a punky, DIY flavoured art grotto. And for once the fact there is absolutely no indication in terms of which artist is responsible for which bit doesn’t matter that much, it is this time, all about the whole, the curation, the one of it all –
“Taking inspiration from the secluded and treasure-like notion of a grotto – ‘a small cave or cavern, often associated with miraculous apparitions and other supernatural experiences – this immersive show will feature a diverse group of London-based artists, creatives and makers”. Details are thin on the ground, we assume the rather fine show was created by Chloée Maugile and Laurie Barron who in turn said before the show that they were “excited to invite you to ‘Grotto’, a group exhibition that will take place at Ridley Road Project Space, Dalston.
It did feel like a “small cave or cavern, often associated with miraculous apparitions and other supernatural experiences”, it was in fact a few floors up a rather shabby and soon to be destroyed 60s building right by the market. The very home made taped-to-the-door rough-and-ready-signs were at best vague, we almost gave up, hanging off the door bell for a good few minutes resulted in nothing, indeed we were walking away when we heard the heavy door slowly creaking open, a head popped out, “did you ring the bell?” “Yes there is an art exhibition in here” – off up the concrete stairs and down dark corridors we go, past rooms fit for little more that seeing out the last of their lives as messy artist studios until we arrive at one that has been turned into a grotto, The Grotto.
“This immersive show will feature a diverse group of London-based artists, creatives and makers. Included Artists: Miranda Keyes, Inez Valentine, Sophie Spedding, Firpal Jawanda, Richard Gasper, Aiden Duffy, Nina Porter, Kin-Ting Li, Ruth Angel Edwards, Adam Gallagher, Carlotta Roma, Arthur Poujois, Thom Murphy, Anna Pye, Waj Hussain, Conrad Pack, Lettice Gatacre, Tom Schneider, Susu Laroche, Gonçalo Neto, Isabel Walter, Alice Fraser”.
Nothing is labelled, there is no information, hard to believe all the listed artists were actually involved, there is;nt that much work in here – it did feel like an event though, the deep purple drapes, the sounds, the painted floor, the scatter gun approach to hanging, it felt good, it felt like fun, it felt serious, edgy, engaging, some of the actual art is maybe a little primative, it does all work though, as one whole thing it works. I Imagine the opening Friday night was quite a thing, in the cold light of a January Sunday it still feels good (I suspect the flowers look a lot fresher of Friday afternoon). You’ve missed it now (we did preview it last week), these things need documenting though, if an art show happens and no one documents it then did it really happen? A glorious mess of a show, and I mean that as a positive, I can’t claim to know anything of the artists involved, I hope we encounter Chloée Maugile and Laurie Barron and their curating again somewhere along the line, glad we made the effort on such a cold grey January day. Art excites. There are no links, we have nothing more to offer, it did happen though, it was almost a throwback, these things do still happen in East London. (sw)
Do click on an image to enlarge it or to run the slide show…