Bold Tendencies 2016: CGP London

Bold Tendencies

It is truly a blessing for any student to  spend their summer doing what they love, meanwhile moving one step closer to the career of their dreams. To do an internship with an established organisation within the industry is a great option so I’ve taken this opportunity to apply to be an art trainee at Bold Tendencies this summer,  a non- profit art commissioning organisation. Bold Tendencies offer summer internship programmes for current students as well as recent graduates who are interested in  pursuing a career in the arts industry.

Its founder, gallerist Hannah Barry, came up with a unique idea of using a carpark in a heart of Peckam (London) as a huge exhibition space. Hannah had been an influential figure in a development of an art scene of Peckham, South London and beyond since 1980s. I thought it would be great fun and a good use of my holiday. Bold Tendencies carries out numerous off site gallery visits with talks and private tours, which is a great opportunity to learn while having a good time exploring new exhibitions. This time it was CGP London.

CGP and Bermondsey

CGP London is an artist led non profit art gallery and a publicly funded organisation, Art Council being the main supporting body. It encompasses the modernist exhibition space, Café, Gallery and Dilston Grove (a poured concrete converted church circa 1890s). Our visit to CGP started in CGP London with an introduction by Judith Carlton, one of the directors. We were all fascinated to hear about the rich history of the gallery; the building started off as a little hut in 1983 when it was founded by Bermondsey Artists Group and was redeveloped three times since becoming a highly polished modern building clad in white. Bermondsey area and the Southwark Park both underwent artistic as well as demographic development. Since then it has gone from being quite a derelict area to becoming a highly regarded place of residence.

CGP Projects

What was even more fascinating to hear about was all the creative projects that the gallery is working on. One of them is redevelopment of the back garden to cultivate the biological makeup, history of the park and the features of the building. Another, quite exciting one is to commission artists to create a variety of functional public art to display in the park in order to encourage an appreciation of the modern art among the local public and raise an interest in the site beyond as well as to challenge the perception of what art is. Judith Carlton, the director, radiated with passion and enthusiasm as she talked about the projects and her vision of a mission of CGP.

The Mighty Scheme by Graham Fagen

We were shown around the current exhibition called “The Mighty Scheme” by Graham Fagen. It is a major solo show for the artist and the most ambitious survey exhibition to date. It comprises a new body of work originally conceived and exhibited as part of the Scotland + Venice 56th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale as well as the recent works on paper commissioned by Glasgow School Of Art as part of Generation.

The work consists of colour prints, sculpture and video installation. Both sculptures and colour prints are inspired by the concept of subconscious. The imagery feels quite “dark” and punk as it is slightly unnerving to look at. The prints and sculptures are a result of a collaboration of the artist with his dentist; teeth are a key element. In parts of the sculptures Fagen used the casts of his own teeth, when producing prints he drew the teeth by feeling them. In my opinion teeth as an image can allude to the idea of identity. The artist also expresses a psychedelic interest in the role of plants and trees through the sculptures. The simplistic white cube setting of CGP London makes for the pieces to really stand out.

The epic sound and video installation, “The Slave’s Lament”, is displayed in the Dilston Grove, which is currently showcasing the artist’s interest in Jamaican history and its relationship with Scottish cultural identity through touching on the issues of a slave trade and collonialism. The installation comprises a video playing on the three screens installed at one end and the tree sculpture made out of ropes on the other. When you enter, you look at the video through the sculptur. It is a very mesmerizing experience visually as well as on other levels of sensory perception. The sound and video fill the prolonged space of the building that used to be a church and seem to be very prayer like. The rich history of the building that stood through both wars emphasizes the historical depth of the issues that are presented here.

Judith Carlton talks about her career and her experience at CGP

 It was fascinating and quite touching to hear Judith open up about all the ups and downs she went through while developing her career. It turned out to be a long journey starting with her family disagreeing with her decision to  go to art college and the time when she volunteered and then worked in the local institution, called Hatton Gallery (Newcastle). That stage of her life seemed to be her as a person and a professional as she carved out the path for herself in the world of curation using every little opportunity. She mentioned that over the year that she has been in a role, the organisation has worked on many projects including a number of  major successful exhibitions, which meant that  it has been a very stimulating and dynamic working environment for her.

This visit was professionally informative, encouraging and fed our common thirst for a fresh creative inspiration!

The Mighty Scheme Photo Credit: CGP London

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BA Sculpture student at Camberwell College of Arts,London. I am passionate about writing and in particular interested in the connection between modern art and technology,new groundbreaking projects.

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