Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"No Search No Entry"

No doubt you have heard it, those occasions when you do a radio channel hop and amid the crackle, growl and hiss, amongst a variety of signals with a variety of music and language and amongst other more sinister sounding beeps, whistles and buzzing you can hear it. Travelling through this airwave soundscape is like flying through the city at great speed but every now and again I stop, the shouted adverts for club nights all delivered in that same style, whether dub, roots, soul, rare groove, jungle, drum & bass, garage, house it is always the same. I know there are a numerous selection of pirate voiceover specialists but in my imaginings it could be the same guy and as you stop your brief radio tour those phrases come shouting out at you with that slightly strangulated, high pitch, insistent vocal delivery without any pause for breath. “...no hoods or trainers good behaviour and law abiding citizens only strictly no caps or jeans look suave and stylish no search no entry security tight but polite…”.

Take a walk through the eastern edges of the city and further out to the depths of east London early on a Sunday morning and you will see documentary evidence of those radio words and the events they speak of, littered along Hackney Road, Cambridge Heath, Whitechapel and any large road out to Ilford and beyond and you will find those familiar printed postcard sized flyers. As the young of east London shuffle home weary and ready to catch up on their sleep after a Saturday night and Sunday morning spent throwing off the previous week a sea of litter drops from their hands and pockets, trod underfoot are the same words that emanate from the radio here in printed form. The venues, times, dates, DJ lineups, dress codes and security warnings are now history but soon to be repeated in a weeks time as the whole process starts again.

David Stewart has taken these little documents of urban life and replicated them as large woodcuts. In the Gone Tomorrow Gallery in Bethnal Green he has constructed oversized prints in black ink on white paper bearing the simple imagery and slogans from these flyers collected around Hackney Road, the flyers reproduced in this way and at such a scale show a significance, something so easily discarded and forgotten takes on a real documentary purpose.

The everyday streets of London are shown as a form of visual poetry, this traditional
method overtaken by modern printing processes is now reclaimed by Stewart and shows a real love of the city. Amongst these reproduced flyers Stewart shows printed text and images echoing a world of pirate radio, nightclubs, takeaways and discount international calls. It is a world we see and hear in this city but have become used to, our eyes and ears no longer notice due to the scale of its influence and the sheer scale of our city, its evidence litters our streets in the form of these rudimentary printed flyers.

David Stewart has taken these discarded pieces of litter and out of these weather beaten, crumpled scraps shown us a view of our city, it might be a rain soaked, muddied and grubby history of the night before but under Stewart’s hand it is renewed and made beautiful.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely review - I think you have really captured the essence of this exhibition.

Many thanks
Gone Tomorrow Gallery

1:43 pm  

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