Tonight was the first art show I’ve been to in London which felt real. Real work – people trying to work something out, grappling with their materials to try and understand something, to get somewhere. Engaging with the work of trying to deconstruct some of the deeply embedded ideological fault lines in our society. Power structures that so often go unquestioned. But slowly, slowly, a critical mass of critical practitioners is blossoming.
The air thick with exhalation, slightly sour, close with humidity, bodies and breath pressed together. A post-covid gauntlet or provocation, a shared search for meaning. And in all of this heaving mass, I could barely see the work, I was pressed up so close to it. But it was in the roiling mass of bodies, the lack of air, the energy spilling out of a tiny gallery space on an average Tuesday evening, in normally dead August, that told me it was real.
There was no power or money or prestige driving this show. The work is packed in, the artists choosing to share their space with as many fellow practitioners as possible. No falling back on acres of ego-driven white space and institutional framing to carry the work. Just 30 artists working in a true diversity of media – video, photography, drawing, ceramics, textiles, audio, painting, AR, print, sculpture and more – grappling with some of the most prescient questions in society today.
Go see it, the show is:
It was tricky to take good pictures, but below are a few I did manage, but really go see it IRL. In one of the artist’s words: “We discover ourselves beside one another” – Imogen Mansfield (she/they), Ithir Milis (2022). Tonight this felt very true, and my heartfelt thanks to all the artists for sharing this show.
Full texts, interviews etc. from the show available here