Saturday, 18 October 2008

More Deptford X

The Cost of Living at Deptford's new Arch Gallery. Great to have a new exhibition space; this show didn't really do it for me, although I enjoyed the surreal bone cutlery.

Deptford Marbles; Artmongers do the final touches to their mural, while Laban students provide the entertainment. There was also some symbolic planting and watering of flowers below the mural. Nice to see something happening in a rather unloved and underused part of Deptford.

Yinka Shonibare's White Flag at Half Mast (which as you can see, it was not - at half mast, that is - although the original on the South Bank was. I think this mast was a little too short.) I wondered what the flag was about, there being no interpretation, and I came to the conclusion that the idea was to mark the death of surrender or peace. Or perhaps that the white indicated purity. But according to something on the BBC Radio 4 website that I just read, it is all about rejecting the nationalistic connotations of flags, by proposing a white flag representing no particular country or boundaries. Why at half mast? I'm not sure.

Like the others who have blogged about this work, I felt that the significance of the art was overpowered by glorious views. Not only do you get a totally different view of Deptford from the top of the very narrow and steep stairs of the belltower, you also get a view into town that's as stunning as the one from Point Hill, coupled with a similarly breath-taking vision eastwards, extending down to the apartment blocks of Woolwich and the wind turbine at Dagenham.

A far more impressive and moving work was Matt Stokes' Cipher, and although I don't believe it was made specifically with the location in mind, it was given a powerful intensity from the fact that the film was shown in a narrow brick arch crypt below the church. The film - of organists playing what I'll loosely describe as damn spooky music in what was a rather spookily-lit church complete with silent, staring cherubs - would have been interesting to watch elsewhere, but would not have had me looking over my shoulder and feeling shivers down my spine as the vibrations of the music played out behind me. The space was so narrow and gloomy it had the air of some kind of air-raid shelter; the dark music added to this feeling, giving me the impression that the apocalypse was surely bearing down on the world as I sat there alone.

Another great film was Sarah Baker's Studs, which is showing at the Bearspace Gallery until next Saturday 25 October. It's a tribute to the Jackie Collins novel and with its split-screen format, glitz and cheesy interiors, is strongly reminiscent of shows like Dallas or Dynasty. Impossible not to be wooed by the Stud!

This lovely ceiling is part of the show by Joanna Sands at the Optician Gallery, which is also worth a look for its quirky wooden floor and views of St Pauls church.

1 comment:

CarolineLD said...

Well done making it up St Nicholas's stairs! Lovely photos.