Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Deptford X 2015

Deptford X is one of my favourite times of the year in Deptford and as always, there's a packed programme of shows, events and open studios to get round in the week-long festival.

It kicks off on Friday from Deptford X's new home in Brookmill Road - an art gallery that was proposed as part of the Seager Distillery redevelopment and originally located in the lower floors of what's now Stay City. Under pressure from the developers, who claimed they had a four-star hotel operator lined up to occupy this building, the council allowed them to relocate the art gallery to Brookmill Road.

The gallery fronts onto Brookmill Road (while Deptford Broadway gets the blanked-out windows of Stay City apartments). Notwithstanding this, it's fantastic to see Deptford X getting a permanent home at last - they also have artist studios available for a very reasonable rent, although I understand they are mostly without natural light, so will only appeal to some.

Deptford X
Lead artist is Janette Parris, whose animation about Deptford will be showing throughout the festival at the Deptford Lounge. Her illustrations are colourful and quirky, I even recognise some of my favourite vendors on them. Her work will also be in a group show she has curated at the Deptford X gallery.

If you like your art in less conventional spaces, why not check out Uncle Ned's Beds at 147 Lewisham Way on Friday evening where Bernadette Russell's Bed will be taking place?

Bed explores magic, dreams, the power of suggestion, and the wonder of stories. It’s revisiting that childhood bedtime story experience as an adult, and it’s about what happens when we’re asleep in these times, when more and more of us have difficulty sleeping. 

Bed includes a 16th century spell and sweets made by a witch. What happens: in exchange for one story, you will be asked to sign a contract to provide Bernadette with the first dream you remember after this encounter. Your dream will provide inspiration for the next story, to be read to someone else, at some point in the future. After having listened to the story, you will be given instructions, which you may or may not choose to carry out, the contents of which are aimed at influencing your dreams. 

Bed takes about half an hour, for participants, it's free and non-ticketed - you just turn up and take a raffle ticket. They are also helpfully providing tea and cakes in exchange for a small donation to Macmillan.

One of my favourite Deptford X artists from last year, and winner of the 2014 fringe award - Luis Ignacio Rodriguez, who performed as a dancing builder on top of the Bird's Nest pub - is back again, on the main programme this year. 

This year Luis  is promising 'a series of daily LuisTV broadcasts, in, on, and for Deptford, ranging from 10 to 30 minutes, live on Periscope (viewable on various platforms), and displayed on a screen at Deptford Lounge throughout the festival. It will be recorded from various points in Deptford, from a market stall to a neighbour’s balcony, from the station to a takeaway shop, from some hidden corner to the LuisTV phone boxes. 

Look out for the standalone cardboard cutouts for the daily schedule. Programmes will vary in format and content, but, whenever possible, the public will be able to take part in them. Audiences can expect different programmes featuring exhibition reviews, interviews, puppet characters, art reading, walks, Deptford stories and more.'

You can see the broadcasts at the Deptford Lounge, or from the comfort of your own home on this channel https://vimeo.com/luistv4dx

As well as the main programme, there's an extensive range of stuff going on in the fringe programme, so don't forget to check it out - in venues conventional and unexpected - right across Deptford and surrounds.

Join Sean Roy Parker in the Old Tidemill wildlife garden to contribute your own 'exhibits' as part of the trading post; there's Deptford Delft at Deli X - reflecting Deptford's past history of shipbuilding and commenting on its future of potential gentrification; or check out The One:One Collective's interrogation of Deptford housing in Giffin Square. 

Open studios
The studios around Deptford that are part of the regular Deptford X trail are this year joined by the Propellor Foundry on Childers St - Acme Studios has been there for 25 years but seems to have recently been rebranded. 

I'm looking forward to getting a look inside - the huge windows of the building and the tantalising glimpses of artists at work have always made me curious about these studios, so it will be good to get a look inside.

They have open studios on 3 and 4 October from 12-6, publicised thus: 

"The event will both include features such as a ‘Historic View’ comprising a video and graphic story of the Propeller Foundry building and its industrial heritage and a ‘Family Trail’ for the younger family visitors. We will be holding a silent auction of artists' postcards over the weekend; artworks will be available to be viewed online from 26th September. We will also be opening the ‘Foundry Gallery’ which will exhibit selected works. Refreshments will be available, including hand-crafted pastries and a range of freshly ground coffee."

If you are able to get there in time after a day at the office, you might want to join the architectural tour of Deptford being led by Burwell Deakins Architects on 1 October at 6pm.

"Although often overshadowed by the grandeur of Wren’s neighbouring Greenwich, Deptford itself is not lacking in architectural significance. Buildings designed by a Stirling Prize winner, RIBA Gold Medalist, international starchitects and some of the UK’s best emerging talent can be found within this rapidly changing Thames-side community. Join Deptford-based award-winning architect Nicholas Burwell and architectural historian and local resident Tom Ravenscroft for a walking tour of Deptford, where we will explore the historical highlights, modern masterpieces and hidden contemporary gems of this lively neighbourhood."

Or maybe you want to create your own guide persona and film your personal guide to Deptford? A project created by artist Jack Brown working with students from Tidemill Academy aims to do just that - and members of the public can join in either at the workshop on 1 October at the Albany, or simply by creating their own film and uploading it to You Tube, labelling it 'deptfordxtourguide'. 

And of course there's the regular South London Art Map tour taking place this Friday if you want a guided tour and an expert's view on the festival - tickets can be booked online.

Full programme available here http://www.deptfordx.org/programmes


Anonymous said...

Two latest postings with zero comments...come on Dame...I think we need to see that grumpy side again, I'm missing the comments.... :-)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Yeah..the cynic in me would almost make a joke about the strong local community spirit not being interested in art in Deptford, so might as well sell off to investors from abroad. How nice of me I didn't do that :P!

Any info on the people who seem to be occupying the land on the creek at Copperas st.? Looks like they were kicked off one plot right to the one next to it? Same ppl as at convoys wharf before?