Bold Tendencies: Sculpture Project 6, Peckham Multi-story Car Park
Zoe Pilger is an art critic for The Independent and winner of the 2011 Frieze International Writers Prize. Her first novel, Eat My Heart Out, will be published by Serpent's Tail in February 2014. She is also researching a PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London, on the subject of romantic love and sadomasochism in the work of contemporary female artists. She has appeared on BBC's The Review Show and Sky News
Monday 02 July 2012
Overlooking the Bussey Building, where Victorian industrialist George Bussey once made a killing by manufacturing everything from roller-skates to cricket bats, the upper levels of this disused Peckham car-park have been swept and filled with Art.
The latter has landed from another planet. It does not appear at one with the post-industrial or industrial landscape despite the site-specific, specially-commissioned nature of the sculptures on display. While the trains from nearby Peckham Rye station roar beneath, their tracks reclaimed by weeds and rubbish, these six international artists’ work is at odds with its environment. But perhaps therein lies its strength. The experience of winding up endless grey stairs to the seventh floor, where dreariness is suddenly exchanged for artist Mary Redmond’s voodoo forest of bamboo spines, some of which swing like wind-chimes but spookily fail to make a noise, is quite extraordinary.
Based in her home city of Glasgow, Redmond, 39, cuts through the low plains of the space with her vertical structures, painted black and blue, seeming to both hold up the car-park’s roof and buckle under its weight. The bamboo spines recall the monstrous legs of Louise Bourgeois’ spider. They are supplemented by blooming coral-coloured flower heads, crushed against the ceiling. Curls of stainless steel look like the debris of a hurricane, as though a gale-force wind has blown through the building, perhaps whisking away all the parked cars and leaving alien art-forms in its wake. The otherworldly quality of this show is continued on the tenth floor, where the walls give way to limitless blue sky and a thrilling view of the city. Music thuds from the surrounding roof-tops and the air becomes almost fresh. The height works perfectly with Fountain I by Peles Empire, a German/Romanian art partnership who draw their inspiration from Peles castle at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains. Water flows down a wall into a make-shift moat. Nest-like ceramics impede the water’s progress, destroying the sense of a rhythm.
British artist Martin Westwood’s collapsing “farfalle extrusions” are the highlight; their wrecked painterly surfaces and surreally melting shapes are fascinating. Sarah Cain’s psychedelic floor painting seems less sure of itself. The other artists are Carter Mull and Laura Buckley. This is the sixth summer outing for Bold Tendencies, which is perhaps most famous for housing Frank’s Campari Bar & Café on the roof – so a drink is available if the art proves too taxing.
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