Saturday, 26 September 2009

Deptford X 2009: Flux

The Guardian online published an article yesterday about the Deptford art scene. It is a positive piece about the increasing number of galleries and artists in the area, despite a scattering of inaccuracies and the fact that the only mention of the Deptford X festival was a link in the sidebar. (I notice that it's also the top listing in the Guardian's Guide this week, which apart from the recommendation, contains no further information or even the website address!).

The festival runs from today until 4 October and offers the chance to visit artists studios all around Deptford, view special exhibitions at a dozen or so local galleries, participate in special events, enjoy film screenings and outdoor installations, and even vote on your favourite artist at one venue.

One thing is certain - if you want to see everything you will need more than just a couple of hours! Luckily the programme is spread over two weekends with many of the venues being accessible or open during the week too, offering a chance for locals in particular to dip in and out over the coming 10 days. Check the programme carefully (you can download it from the website or pick up a copy at any of the galleries or spaces) as the opening times are very varied. Many of the artist studios seem to be only open this weekend, and some of the shows only start next weekend.

A few things you might like to put in your diary:

This year's Deptford X award winner, Patrick Hackett's crazy 'Scape Boat' made of four steel drums, assorted pieces of wood, and sheets of the FT newspaper reporting on significant events in the recent financial crisis can be seen on the lawn in front of the Laban Centre. Believe it or not, he intends to sail this contraption on Deptford Creek on Sunday 4 Oct, at 'around midday'. In theory it should float, he says, although he hasn't trialled the actual vessel yet; find out what happens next Sunday when he launches it from the Creekside Centre. The Ha'penny Hatch footbridge is probably the best spot for a good view, have your video camera to hand!

As part of Fred Aylward's exhibition Before & After at the Albany, there will be a screening of the 1980s classic 'Babylon' at the Albany cafe on Tuesday 29 September at 7.30pm. Billed as 'a potent mix of music and social commentary', it was filmed in and around Deptford featuring actors from the Albany's Combination Theatre Group. It's worth popping into the Albany to see Fred's exhibition even if you can't make the film - fascinating photographs, old programmes and playbills of some of Deptford's former entertainment venues. Some of the venues still exist, albeit in very different guises, but sadly some of the grander ones are gone forever. Suffice it to say that in the 1930s, Deptford Broadway must have had some truly impressive facades, rather than the straggle of grimy and mismatched shopfronts that exist today.

Deptford Marbles' tea and dance event takes place on Saturday 3 October from 3pm till 6pm in front of the mural in New Cross Square. In contrast to the alcoholic liquids more commonly imbibed in the square, Artmongers and Laban dance students will be teaming up for a bit of 'participatory choreography' and some tea and cakes. There is a cake competition on the theme of 'Deptford Spirit', the winner of which will walk away with £50! So get your weighing scales out and have a go!

Also on 3 October you can see The Beastly Beauty at the Deptford Project Space from 2-3pm. This performance 'combines the use of staged fighting with cheerleading and acrobatics to comment on the nature of violence and upend the traditional roles of masculine and feminine and the distinction between highbrow and popular genres of art'.

And for those of you who like a party, the Deptford X Factor takes place at the famous Bunker club (on Deptford Broadway) on Friday 2 October from 10pm till 3am. Admission is £4 or £2 for students, and involves visuals, DJs and bands Toy Toy and Motel Blitz.

Just one small plea to the organisers for next year - with such a variety of venues, events and dates, it would be great to have an 'at a glance' programme with exhibitions shown on a calendar. This would make it so much easier for visitors to find out what's happening on any particular day, and prioritise their time accordingly. It doesn't have to be on the printed programme - you could just put it on the website for people to download as they wish.

Meanwhile here's just a little taster of what you can enjoy in and around Deptford over the next 10 days.


colleen said...

Hello! Thanks for the comments on Canvey. Have enjoyed your blog this lovely morning. Looks like a wee trip to Deptford might be in the offing for me soon.

Minnie said...

Lurker here from France, having discovered you via Caroline's Miscellany - and very pleased to have done so. Spent many years in London, and mostly experienced everyday life there as taking place in a series of villages; it's a treat to see/read about more.

Gareth Gardner said...

Love the plant identification labels. One of those ideas that makes you say "I wish I'd thought of that!"