Ruins of Time | Tower – St. Augustine’s Tower, Hackney – Went up a 13th century tower last night, always a challenge getting up those tighter than tight well worn stone stairs, best not to partake in too much of that private view refreshment if you want to get back down in one piece.
There’s a group of artists exhibiting in a tower that is all that remains of the old church of St. Augustine just off all the hustle and inner city big-name-shops bustle Hackney’s narrow way. When they built the tower and the church Hackney was little more than a country village out in the fields on the edges of London. Ruins of Time | Tower is the latest in a series of site-specific group shows from London – Munich Exchange Collective – a collective of, hang on, here’s what they say…
Ruins of Time | Tower is the latest in a series of site-specific projects by artists of the LME (London-Munich-Exchange collective), investigating the passage of time and its specific expression in the place, space and architecture of the site. This exhibition explores St. Augustine’s Tower, the oldest building in Hackney.
British and German artists from the collective use the Tower, all that remains of the original 13th church, built on a Knights Templar estate, to examine themes revolving around time and ruins: transience and transformation, collapse and decay. Immersive artworks, sound pieces, video and light works and even plants, engage with the Tower’s ancient history, as well as its more recent uses as a gardener’s tool shed and public mortuary. Founded in 2015 by artists and curators Eleonora Bourmistrov and Milena Michalski, LME is a collective of international artists with connections to either city.
Once again, as it is with the recent Mother’s Ruin group show not far away at the House Mill over in Bromley-by-Bow, it is rather easy to get a little distracted by the building itself, the history, the marks on the walls, the wear on the bricks, the sense of it all. To not get distracted by the question of where the show and the building starts, is that bit part of the building or part of the actual exhibition? Once again not necessarily a bad thing, these are site-specific shows, they are whole things. It is a little cramped in the tower, a little dark, you are kind of concentrating a little on the steep twisted stairs and maybe not falling down them to totally focus on the the pieces embedded in the walls half way between the floors as you gingerly work your way up. You are maybe distracted (as we might have said about exhibitions in the tower before) by the working of the clock or the ancient graffiti or what you can see once you get to the top. The art that is in the space works rather well in terms of the relationship with the space, some of the placement could maybe be a little more considered, some of it is a little lost, and the rooms are so small that viewing in a busy room is a little difficult but this is, once again, a good show and yet another a fine fine art experience.
Stand out piece is at the top, an ambitous installation piece by Eleonora Bourmistrov that’s blowing in the wind. Semi-transparent large fabric strips hanging and moving with sound, a rather subtle soundtrack of bells and weather, of chants and more. The piece is called Ghosts of The Past, the title might be a little too obvious, the piece itself is beautifully intriguing. delicately inviting, the piece makes it a wonderful space to be in, a wonderful piece to listen to, to walk around, to just spend time with, a piece that tops the show at the top of the tower wonderfully. Elsewhere on the floors below Elenora Bourmistrov’s beautiful piece, there are installations, hangings, video, films, prints placed on window ledges, some beautiful pieces. The exhibition works well as one whole. one well considered well curated one whole of a group show, it is Eleonora Bourmistrov’s use of her floor in the tower that does stand out, the whole show is strong though, the artists have worked well with the space, the show is rather recommended. (sw)
The event runs from 15th – 19th July. The exhibition opens daily 1pm – 6pm. Entry is Free. – St. Augustine’s Tower in just off the Narrow Way, Hackney London E8 1HT
The artists involved are – Eleonora Bourmistrov, Myra Brooklyn, Risha Gorig, Angelika Hofmann, Monika Kita, Milena Michalski, Brigitte C. Reichl and Marcia Teusink . More information here
As always do click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show and to get a flavour