a short tour of peckham galleries

28 September 2011 § 1 Comment

Peckham is the new Hoxton – or at least that is what the young and enthusiastic south London art community would like us to believe, and to be fair this is certainly a hotbed of creative activity.

Step out of Peckham Rye railway station – no London Underground ’round this way – and it is a world of pound stores, ethnic wholesale vegetable shops and fake nail salons. There is an energetic, edgy and interesting vibe to the area. Slipping down a side street and ringing the bell on a nondescript doorway I was led in to the Sunday Painter, a tiny gallery effectively sponsored by the artists studios squeezed around the stairwell. A clever video installation Push-Pull from LA-based artist Pascual Sisto fills the space. Steadily flowing traffic is manipulated to flow from a seemingly never-ending tunnel whilst behind you it flows away from you on another screen.

Back across the High Road and in the back passages of a slightly dodgy light industrial estate is the Son Gallery where a loop of Takeshi Shiamitsu films – Heavy Reflections – were playing. He fuses found video material and home-made footage in a riot of images, colour and sounds which makes for quite difficult viewing.

Nearby in the same Industrial estate is perhaps the most well known of the Peckham commercial galleries, Hannah Barry. Her large space is split in to three currently showing Bobby Dowler, James Capper and Viktor Timofeev, none of which particularly caught my eye, but it would be well worth keeping an eye on her exhibitions to spot any emerging talent from the area.

Flat Time House is rather more unusual in that it is the former home and archive of post-war British artist John Latham. Without elaborating too much on his complex Flat-time theory of the cosmos his work basically ‘offers an ordering and unification of all events in the universe, including human actions…’ Using glass, books, plaster, canvas and spray guns his work looks to freeze moments in time. He also equates the building to a body, with the exterior as the ‘face’ (image above). The studio is the ‘hand’ where there is a rotating series of exhibitions. The wonderful films of Motoharo Jonouchi (image below) are amongst those currently on show and feature multiple kaleidoscopic images and a distorted soundtrack which effortlessly drags you in to a strange and disturbing world.

Moca is another artist cum gallery space run by artist Michael Petry. Artist collective LuckyPDF (see them at Frieze) are next to use the intruiging glass wall that faces the pavement with a video installation running 6 to 8 pm on the 30th September.

Last but not least my charming guides Rozsa, Tom and Laura from Arcadia Missa led us to their railway-arch space, again sponsored by artist studios behind the gallery for a talk by LuckyPDF. There are many more galleries too – best found using the South London Art Map.

This is not an area of commercial galleries in conventional spaces this is a place where art is thought about, discussed and created in a diverse range of ways in any cheap and available space that comes to hand. The key words here are ones like collaboration, platform, artist-run, collective, projects, groups and artist space. I highly recommend getting down ‘sarf’ and taking a look around. It is not an easy place to get to and find your way around so to help on the last friday of every month there is an excellent ‘pay-what-you-can’ tour (£5 suggested).

Tours:  http://www.southlondonartmap.com/tours


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§ One Response to a short tour of peckham galleries

  • Mark Sheerin says:

    It’s another world, Peckham, filled with energy and optimism. For anyone who remembers when Hoxton was the new Hoxton, it is a bit scary to see how things have moved on. If anything there’s more to Peckham than Shoreditch. South London seems more arty, less (new) media.

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