Adventures in Shoreditch

Inbetween declaring my love for all things Southbank, this weekend I decided to get better acquainted with the offerings of the Shoreditch and Spitalfields area.

While taking another route to visit the Kemistry Gallery, I stumbled across a small independent gallery showcasing something rather familiar looking…

I’ve come across yarn-bombing in the past, amongst my volumes of research into urban art and interventions, so the sight of a crocheted bike cover was very well received!

Curious, I decided to take a closer look only to find a shop wide installation of what was later explained to be, an apartment. Not an unusual sight in London, you might think?

This apartment was a replica of the one lived in by street artist Olek:

Renowned for her use of crocheted yarn as a medium both indoors and on the street, the artist has created a major installation and sculptural environment: a distinctive Olek-esque living quarters filled with domestic objects of all kinds. These, along with the gallery walls and floor, have been entirely covered in crochet.

We know I adore installations, so having discovered this small gallery hosting an artist I already admired, I leapt at the chance to get snap happy and touchy feely.

Incidentally, as part of familiarising myself with a new camera, I’m trying to take advantage of the optional LCD display screen. As much advantage as I can, in fact.  I found it quite challenging to shoot from the hip with my old camera- even with digital patience the results were just too hit-or-miss. Now I have the novelty of seeing what I’m framing, I’m discovering the fun to be had with a new eye level altogether! It feels like I am getting the type of shots that I would see other people getting and wonder what I was doing wrong- which is a nice feeling! Or maybe my eye for photography has improved, we’ll never know…

My photographs here do not convey the feel of the space, the shuffling of feet on yarn through shoe protectors and the surprising intimacy of the environment. Some of the messages crocheted into the wall covers are explicit and reference personal relationships, yet there is still a sense of domesticity and feminine craftwork within all the day-glo. I suspect this is debatably skewed however, taking into account the enduring link between females and craft in the art world.

If only as just a spectacle, Olek’s installation is worth dropping in on. And if crochet really isn’t your thing, you might want to pop along and see the fruits of a dedication to art, that ensures even the table undersides are covered.

Links:

Tony’s Gallery- Olek exhibition page: http://www.tonysgallery.com/?p=797

I never made it inside the Kemistry Gallery, but should you be inclined, the current display looked pretty interesting through the window:

Mr T: The Posters of Jerzy Treutler, 2 Feb-17 March 2012 http://kemistrygallery.co.uk/current-show

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