Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Bermondsey Review: V22 Collection Show

Last Friday evening, Bermondsey's Biscuit Factory blossomed beautifully, heralding a super summer of art.  The promise of innovative contemporary art, washed down with rivers of premium organic and locally distilled Dodds Gin, proved an attractive invitation for many in Bermondsey and further afield.

V22 Workspace, located in F Block at the Biscuit Factory on Clements Road SE16, showed their latest collection as part of the South London Arts Map 'Last Fridays'.  A multi-media celebration of sometimes visually challenging works by established and emerging artists, this late night opening was  designed to provoke and tease out the full gamut of emotions.

Displaying works created predominantly in this century, the collection is hosted in a series of cavernous rooms within a previously industrial warehouse.  Although finding the gallery within the labyrinthine Biscuit Factory complex was a challenge in itself, it formed part of the build-up and confusion around what was to come.

Main Entrance and Lucky PDF 'S/S 2013 Young London Collection', 2012

The front of house welcomed patrons in unexpected darkness, lit dimly by a lamp or two.  After a few seconds to adjust the eyes, we were warned to navigate our way through the gloom using only a thin painted white guide line on the ground - was the line  itself a work or commentary?

Elizabeth Price's 'Welcome (The Atrium)' (2008)
HD Video and silver gelatin print 
The first room was dark, and we mean dark.  Thankfully, Elizabeth Price's 'Welcome (The Atrium)' (2008), produced on HD video and silver gelatin print, tempted the viewer with its overflowing chocolate fountain set against a mechanical backdrop.  But, the emotions soon shifted sharply when the realisation set in that one was alone in a huge room with only two dim lights to show the exit.
Peles Empire 'A33D', 2012.
A3 copies, plasterboard, wood, ceramics
Entering the dazzlingly brighter second space was a welcome relief.  Peles Empire's 'A33D' (2012), together with many of the works here could at first glance be greated with incredulity at their simplicity and at the same time audacity.  Indeed one visitor stated, "Couldn't anyone do this?"
Gustav Metzger 'Manifesto Auto-Destructive Art, 1961'
But, the visitors were deceptively enticed around the sparsely filled room by each of the pieces, so that leaving for room three did not seem an option.

Brian Griffiths 'The Clown Situation (small blue)' (2012)
Ceramic pot, ceramic clown, expanding foam, sand, glue
Although not the largest of all the spaces, room three contained 17 works which pushed viewers' tastes to the limit.  Martin Westwood's 'fatfinger[HAITCH.KAY.EKS.], 2002 was an enjoyable masterpiece: a mixed-media installation, set on a stage of tired looking blue carpet tiles.

Martin Westwood's 'fatfinger[HAITCH.KAY.EKS.], 2002
Mixed media installation
KERNEL's 'Mirrors (Scale021, 025, 027)' (2012) provided a moment of hypnotic attraction, as the flashing red LED alternated with its two green neighbours. 

KERNEL Mirrors (Scale 021, 025, 027)' (2012)
Server-racks steel frame, rack-mount server, digitally printed silk crepe de chine
However, the very best is always left until last, but never usually hidden away!  After enjoying Gary Webb's 'Ravi's Ring, 2003' and stopping to wonder at Shahin Afrassiabi's 'Display with linoleum tiles (2002), a humming could be heard from the corner of the room: Connor Kelly's 'Plainsong, 2004' can be easily missed and indeed confused with Kernal's 'Mirrors'.  Do not allow this to happen!  Its flashing orange beacons and sound on DVD are the true star of this collection.
Shahin Afrassiabi's 'Display with linoleum tiles (2002)
V22's free event is open until 28th July from Thursday to Sunday 12 - 6pm.  It is a must see and should be seen by all.  However, the challenge for this and many other local galleries is to reach out and appeal to a broad range of local people - including those in all parts of south Bermondsey.

Shahin Afrassiabi's 'Display with linoleum tiles, 2002) - front
Gary Webb's 'Ravi's Ring, 2003' - rear



V22, F Block, The Biscuit Factory

Corner of Clements and Webster Road
SE16 4DG

General enquiries: contact@v22collection.com

South London Arts Map

V22 Collection

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