bold tendencies – in a peckham car park

7 July 2011 § Leave a comment

In Peckham for George Shaw’s Sly and Unseen Day (see previous post) I decided to make the most of the trip and drop in to Bold Tendencies , the 5th annual showcase held here for young sculptors and installation artists. Located on the top two floors of a 1960’s concrete multi-storey car park it is the brainchild of Hannah Barry of the eponymous gallery with the, dare I say futile, aim of positioning Peckham as the new Hoxton.

Impossible to find and virtually unsignposted it is a relief to exit a squalid stairwell (no lift) and discover a temporary booth marking the entrace of the exhibition. About fifteen works are scattered through the open spaces and were created ‘in response to’ the space and each with the help of a £3000 grant. James Capper’s Ripper Teeth has poised half a dozen of these roughly polished industrial objects on illuminated stands. They are interesting objects in a Duchamp Fountain  sort of way, but multiplying them by six doesn’t make them six times better.Kitty Kraus’s Untitled spins a shopping trolley handle meaninglessly on the ceiling whilst cleverly pocketing £2990 and two thousand paperbacks have been scattered randomly by Michael Dean (Untitled) who also no doubt turned a good profit.

Better is a series of polished steel bollards, bent and distorted, which are fixed in to a ramp. They elegantly separate the two (parking) levels of the exhibition. Entitled Ahead Only by Bettina Pousttchi it is the first striking work. Once in the open air on the top level soul music booms out from inflatable rats for no reason. David Brooks’ Adaptable Boardwalk uses forklifts to lift and distort a wooden boardwalk – which is Ok I guess. Elsewhere there were a few metal hoops, a high level hammock, some discarded metal plates and a plastic container in some mud and undergrowth. All rather disappointing.

The stand-out work for me was a caged area with abandoned rubbish, industrial wiring atmospherically covered in dust – an abandoned scene for some once-worthy enterprise. Sadly it turned out to be part of the car park structure. Any installation artist worth their salt should have imediately appropriated it and popped their name on the fence. Watch out for it next year!

Perhaps it was a worthy and interesting exercise – any efforts to bring art to the (largely ignoring) masses of Peckham has to be admired I suppose and I am sure the students found the cash useful. Furthermore if you want a beer with a view and a bit of a party on a rooftop I would recommend it to any local students but as for me – well, I know not to to go again – probably.

Bold Tendencies at Peckham Car Park, 11am – 10pm Thursday to Sunday until 30 September 2011

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