Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Bermondsey Review: Art Stabs Power: que se vayan todos! at the Bermondsey Project

Can austerity and recession really be influenced by art?  A new exhibition at the Bermondsey Project seems to think so.
After a successful premiere in Lisbon, curator Inês Valle has transferred a mélange of artists to the UK, offering a contemporary feast of sculpture, painting, film and installation.  Although focusing on ‘policies of austerity imposed on Portugal’, Art Stabs Power is deliciously beautiful, bursting with colour and energy – less ‘art stabs power’, more ‘art styles power’.
On first glance, the collection doesn’t really encourage '[identification] with the real hardships that are being experienced in Portugal and elsewhere’ - it's too pretty for that.  But, what it does extremely well is create an enjoyable, aesthetically pleasing experience in one of London’s best white warehouse spaces.

Joana Gomes' UN Blue Berets/SOS Save our Sanity 2014
It’s contemporary art with a playfully retro feel.  From Joana Gomes' UN Blue Berets/SOS Save our Sanity 2014, to Hugo de Almeida Pinho’s performance piece ‘O Freunde, nicht diese Töne’ complete with cassette recorder, megaphone speaker and blue powder paint, they transport the viewer back to the halcyon days of youth. 
Hugo de Almeida Pinho’s ‘O Freunde, nicht diese Töne’
Fernando J Ribeiro’s 'In search of the French revolution’ is an alluring arrangement of post-it notes representing the French tricolor; together with Untitled (Euopean Union), 2012, which transforms the golden stars of the EU flag into crisps on the floor, they communicate strong messages about power and nationhood.  
Untitled (Euopean Union), 2012
Image © Fernando J Ribeiro 2012
Like much contemporary art, this collection relies on its glossy programme to explain context and elements of meaning;  without this, the exhibition would lack the oomph required to provoke anyone to do anything about this part of recession hit Europe
Paul Eachus' Anarchitectower, 2014
Sadly, this home to many homeless artists will close later in the year.  Art Stabs Power?  Unfortunately for the Bermondsey Project and Crisis, power stabs art in favour of fancy new apartments – and that’s a real shame.  Que se vayan todos!
Filipe Marques' Disclosedness space's underlying cause, 2014
More information:

Bermondsey Project
46 Willow Walk, SE1 5SF London
Telephone: 0207 036 2415


Opening times: Wednesday – Saturday 1 – 6pm
Ends 3rd August 2014


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