OFF STREET.Proteus Project.A foundation.London

OFF STREET

Curated by:  Blanca de la Torre

Featuring Artists: Elena Bajo, Jacobo Castellano, Josechu Dávila, Democracia,  Maider López, PSJM and Avelino Sala.

Opening: 10 September 6-9pm. A Foundation, London.

watercolour Proteus project

watercolour Proteus project

Seven artists with radical strategies for engaging urban space present works conceived for A Foundation, London. The exhibition site, Rochelle School, is a Victorian building located at the heart of the Boundary Estate Conservation Area, built in 1890s on a former shanty town. Following a brief Summer research residency, the site-specific works create dialogue with this historic area of East London, its cultural and social specificities, and the community that inhabits it. In order to remap the aesthetics of the social, the project reclaims the street as a social point of encounter. It claims the particularities of the urban through a series of challenges or future topographies beyond the boundary of gallery and locality that address issues such as; gloablisation, social integration, collective memory and imaginary and corporate identity. These artists represent key figures in the Spanish arena but will play with an environment which is not theirs to create an exciting remix of the vernaculars of street art, exposing the architecture of memory and meaning, whilst rethinking the street from a socially engaged perspective.

‘It is our most extensive international exhibition to date in our London space,”says A Foundation’s Director Mark Waugh.

With ‘The Rooks Have Returned’ Elena Bajo plays with the re-reading of the social, historical and political layers woven into the  neighbourhood’s fabric. Her intervention consists of a collective, performative installation of sculptures created from donated furniture which has been upholstered using discarded fabric from the “Master Upholsterer” on nearby Calvert Avenue, who has been re-upholstering furniture  locally for thirty five years.

Josechu Dávila has been recording the speech of a woman at her window in Madrid – through a song composed for this occasion, these words will be interpreted and played by a punk band during the preview opening. The song will be performed in the bandstand of Arnold Circus and will be broadcast in real time in the interior of the exhibition space.

As the title implies (Project to spread the message of an anonymous woman in…London with a punk band) Josechu Dávila will spread the message – of a woman who he has been recording over a period of time. The daily speech of this anonymous woman who speaks to the world from her window in Madrid has been transcribed into English and is the inspiration a song composed and played specifically for this occasion by punk band “Short Bus Window Lickers”. The song remains faithful to the idiosyncrasy of her message and will be performed from the bandstand of Arnold Circus on the opening night and broadcast in real time in the interior of the exhibition space.

With the video installation ‘Welfare State’ Democracia proposes a meeting between the integrated and the marginalized society at the time when the welfare state acts in search of justice and equality. Recently, the Community of Madrid and the City Council agreed to demolish one of the largest slum European settlements in Madrid: El Salobral, consequently rehousing its inhabitants, the majority of whom are  gypses. The installation conceives the staging of the demolition of this marginal community as a performance for all members of civil society. Over and above considerations such as the disappearance of specific cultural forms (that of the gypsy culture), the civil society celebrates the disappearance of the ghetto.

Maider López´s challenge is to transform the public space, and subtly modify the environment, creating new possibilities such as a soccer field painted at the Art Square in Sharjah Biennial, or a beach where everyone’s towel is in red colour.  With Bidegorri López intends to change the colour of the bicycle path in Arnold Circus, from green to red and converting it into a perfect circle around the place. The project is conceived not just for cyclists but also for those whom Arnold Circus represents part of their daily lives. All of a sudden, the local resident finds himself surprised when he sees the path transformed. It pays homage to the Boundary people, and aims to question the meaning of colour in urban space.

Through this project, the artist comments on globalization in a subtle act of unifying languages and criteria, as well as emphasizing the originality of such a peculiar neighbourhood.

‘Citizen Identity’ is a two part project by PSJM, an artist collective conceptually focused on the representations of individual identity in consumer society. The first part is “Signatures Collected for Aesthetic Aims”, a street-art performance played by PR hostesses in corporate apparel, which comprised of the collection of a sample of citizens signatures in Shoreditch. From this raw material a selection has been digitally manipulated through the application of colours and a prominent outline, turning these signatures into forms visually reminiscent of both commercial logos and the graffiti tags, probably the most ubiquitous symbols of popular culture. The second phase is the exhibition of these new ‘people´s brands’ inside A Foundation, installing them with vinyl on the wall and screening the video of; “Signatures Collected for Aesthetic Aims”. So the project works inside and outside, in art and life.

Avelino Sala takes inspiration from Joseph Merrick – the elephant Man- to think about the psychogeography of the East End and how migration and remixing might define a  nomadic icon of the area, a collage of the cultures and mix of traditions that coexist in this area. By taking photographs in the Boundary Estate of people of 23 different nationalities, Sala gives form through their sampled faces to the face of the new Elephant man. The image is also returned to the streets in the shape of stencils, on the walls of the neighbourhood where the photographs have been taken, paying homage to plurality.

Press Information

For press information, interviews and pictures please contact Helen Brierley

Tel: 0207 729 8275

Email: helenb@afoundation.org.uk

or visit our website www.afoundation.org.uk/press to download images and press releases.

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