‘Padsjgams‘ and ‘A Vehicle for Revolution‘ are two of the 50-some events included in Deptford X – London’s Contemporary Arts Festival which hosts artist open studios, exhibitions, tours, workshops, and other happenings. These two artist-run shows are hosted by The Old Police Station in Deptford (East London), and include the work of five artists recently graduated from Chelsea College of Arts’ MA Fine Art course. Festival and exhibition ends Sunday 4 October 2015.
Studying the ‘identifiable and affective’
An art exhibition in a police station? I wasn’t sure how that could work until I visited The Old Police Station “a do-it-yourself art centre” in Deptford for a two-in-one group show, “Padsjgams” and “A Vehicle for Revolution“. It was clear from the start how apropos was the subject matter as well as the location of such a revolution considering where it was: boundary-pushing artworks that seem as if they are taking over a defunct police station, unapologetically doing so right next door to the active one.
The main project space at The Old Police Station is made up of four former holding cells, which (although somewhat resembling an abattoir), are in no way disguised to their true original purpose, each boasting a grim wooden bench for a bed, grotty tiled walls, and massive steel doors four inches thick through which I imagine those incarcerated would feel utterly cut off from each other as well as from the outside world.
It is in these spaces that the four artists (Andrew Rickett, Gerard Carson, David Icko, and James Pimperton) “use cyclic and transmutational process to develop networked interactions between image, matter, viewer and virtuality.” There is a dialogue between the works within the 6 x 8 foot spaces and the in-penetrable doors are now opened wide to foster dialogue cell to cell, in a sort of conversation between art practices as disparate as robotics is to painting.
Through curation, siting, and even the items themselves, questions are thus posed to the viewer: what does place/location mean to the artwork? Or even, “what constitutes the concept of ‘Thingness’ within the contemporary object”? It seems that no one answer can be found to such questions, while here, it’s the asking and leaving room for consideration that seems more important.
‘Exploring elements and aesthetics of protest’ with an antique library cart
With an antique book trolley and candy-pink neon-bright banners, Rosemary Cronin offers both a site for contemporary protest as well as the brief histories of three prominent Deptford women who fought for women’s rights in the latter part of the 19th century. Visitors to “A Vehicle for Revolution” can pick up a copy of Cronin’s zine to learn about Rosa May Billinghurst (a suffragette), Edith Nesbit (political activist for children’s rights), and Eleanor Marx Aveling (a socialist and feminist actress/writer). During the exhibition, artists and others are invited to join the throng to “voice their own concerns and opinions” with the idea to collate “an archive of protest” to tour different sites around the UK in the coming months.
These two shows pose interesting questions about the siting of art practice in a non-conventional context as well as the subject matter of the work itself; highly recommended!
More links and info about ‘Padsjgams’ and ‘A Vehicle for Revolution’
- Get updates on Padsjgams and A Vehicle for Revolution on Facebook – photos, artist comments, and more!
- “Padsjgams” in the former holding cells of The Old Police Station includes work from: Andrew Rickett, Gerard Carson, David Icko, and James Pimperton.
- “A Vehicle for Revolution” is parked in the courtyard behind The Old Police Station and is an on-going project created by Rosemary Cronin.
- All the artists are recent graduates of the MA Fine Art course at Chelsea College of Arts, London, 2015
Exhibition details: “Padsjgams and A Vehicle for Revolution” are hosted by The Old Police Station, 114 Amersham Vale, Deptford, SE14 6LG as part of Deptford X Contemporary Arts Festival. Ends Sunday 4 October 2015, 12-6PM.