Saturday, July 08, 2006

Freebies


How do they do it?. How can all those people visit every private view from Hoxton Square to Brick Lane in one evening?. And you know they have a couple of beers at each one and talk to all the right people and their friends as well.

Thursday night was a big opening night, the White Cube on Hoxton Square opened their summer blockbuster starring Damien Hirst, Gavin Turk, Andy Warhol and a host of others. A huge crowd assembled both on the square and in the gallery, many grabbed their complimentary Asahi and hopped over the fence and chilled out in the square (shut for parched grass related reasons, but that didn’t stop them). I nabbed a freebie bottle and waited for Liz to turn up, once she arrived and we had necked our beers we went into the gallery. The show ‘Dark Matter’ is all very impressive but despite enjoying several of the numerous black pieces of work, especially Gavin Turk’s bin bag, I just felt somewhat overwhelmed at the huge power wielded by Jopling. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that this was an exercise in self promotion for the gallery, rather than an exhibition it seemed more an advert to impress those wealthy enough to purchase their art from the White Cube.
Then things took a turn for the weird with Liz deciding that Damien Hirst’s multiple flies on a canvas piece reminded her of those chocolate rice crispie things, with our thoughts turning to dinner plans we left to make our way across to Kingsland Road to see Rob Ryan’s papercuts at the Seventeen Gallery. We navigated our way through the crowd on Hoxton square trying not to crush the other freebies on offer, Felix Gonzales –Torres effort endless copies of black paper which was being wielded by a fair few people by now.

I like the Seventeen Gallery, they seem to select work that I wouldn’t normally like and make me like it. Rob Ryan’s papercuts are no exception, this series of theatrical images abound with men with tophats, dancing girls, stars and Victorian styled horticultural patterns. The series is titled “The Stars Shine All Day Too” and the two largest scale pieces are epic, the efforts Ryan has put into these 87”x75” pieces are prodigious and his honest endeavour adds to the charm of the images he produces.
Liz and I made our way for some beer at the back of the gallery, we had Brahma beer as I needed the bottle for a collection of bottles I am using in an artwork and Liz wanted the unusual shaped bottle to use as a vase.
We went outside to the street to cool down from the full and very hot gallery, the staff at the Seventeen Gallery had laid on beer on tap (the first time I have seen such a thing in a gallery and very impressive it is too) and the crowd was filling the already muggy room.
A friend met up with us and we strolled back across the square and onto Coronet Street to see Standpoint’s opening of their ‘sweetex’ show. Of note in this show are the quirky bike bulbs in brown bags installation and some photos of a small Barbie-esque doll in a variety of situations.

Finally we completed our tour at Studio 1.1 with Ron Meerbeek’s paintings and sculptures series titled T.O.E (Theory of Everything). With paintings called ‘God Fucks Dog’ and ‘Boiling Babies’ and images which run from the cast of the Simpsons, Bagpuss and dogs in amoebic form and an installation of a toilet surrounded by walls wallpapered with Meerbeek’s cartoon and comic creations it is a truly peculiar look into Meerbeek’s mind. But we were hot and thirsty and with the artviewing crowds thinning for the evening we headed off to meet up with another friend and some food on Old Street.

And with the free beer all gone and being too late for the openings on Charlotte Road or at The Reliance, we ducked in for some Vietnamese noodles whilst avoiding a trio of people wheeling their bikes and carrying rolled up pieces of free black paper

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