Listings

    No events to show

Follow

Twitter

|

Facebook

|

MySpace

|

Last.fm

RSS

Subscribe

Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Tom Hunter’s memory lane

‘A palace for us’ is a moving account of life at the Woodberry Down estate in Hackney. Tom Hunter’s documentary film shows at the Serpentine Gallery until 20th January.

Written by Jessica Furseth

this web Little Rich Girls, capsule 2010″ src=”http://www.ameliasmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Installation-shot-from-GSK-Contemporary-Aware-Yinka-Shonibare-Little-Rich-Girls-2010-.jpg” alt=”” width=”480″ height=”654″ /> Yinka Shonibare MBE, abortion Little Rich Girls, 2010, Installation shot from GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity, Commissioned by the London College of Fashion and the Royal Academy of Arts, © The Artist, Photo: Andy Stagg, Courtesy Royal Academy of Arts, London

In 2009, the Royal Academy of Art’s exhibition exploring contemporary art, Earth: Art of a Changing World featured a selection of artists engaging with the physical impacts of Climate Change. For 2010 the Royal Academy turned it’s attention to the subject of identity and clothing in Aware: Art Fashion Identity. Broken down into three segments; Storytelling, Building and Belonging and Confronting, the exhibition endeavors to examine the possibilities provided –as explored by artists and fashion designers- by clothing to reveal and conceal our cultural and physical identity.

A new commission from Yinka Shonibare focused on cultural perceptions of the origin of a cloth usually associated with Africa. Under closer examination, these perceptions turn out to be false. Shonibare’s ghostly installation reveals that the origination of the batik pattern thought to be synonymous with Africa, is in fact Holland. The Dutch pattern makers sold the fabric em masse to Africa, only after a European buyer could not be found.

Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 1965, A film by Albert and David Maysles of Yoko Ono’s performance of Cut Piece at Carnegie Recital Hall, New York, 21 March 1965, 16mm black-and-white film with sync sound, transferred to DVD, running time 9’ Courtesy of the artist

After entering the Royal Academy via Burlington Arcade and walking up the stairs into the main exhibition space. The audience moves through the three sections in a circular motion; first encountering Storytelling (announced by the presence of an embroidered kimono by Grayson Perry) then Building and finally Belonging and Confronting. The audience departs Aware: Art Fashion Identity via the two of the exhibition’s most interesting works – both of which are nearing 30 years old.

Yoko Ono and Marina Abramovic’s performance pieces lay bare the artifice and cultural constructs which lay at the heart of both fashion and art identity. In the 9 minute video, Marina Abramovic and Ulay stand naked in a gallery doorway, forcing visitors to confront the physicality of the naked body, stripped of it’s adornments. Meanwhile in a video opposite Yoko Ono sits quietly on a stage whilst members of the audience snip her free from the garments of femininity. An exciting introduction to these two artists, it is a shame that more of their work was not included.

The limited inclusion of performance art is a lost opportunity, specifically because the three included pieces (Marina Abramovic Yoko Ono and Cindy Sherman) lend themselves vividly to the concept (i.e. the relationship between our cultural and personal identity and how we are perceived by others) this exhibition was starting to explore.

GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity
Royal Academy of Arts, 2 December 2010 – 30 January 2011, Marina Abramovi?, Imponderabilia Performance 1977
Galleria Comunale d’Arte, Bologna © Marina Abramovi?. Courtesy of Marina Abramovi? and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York. © DACS 2010
Photo by Giovanna dal Magro

Cindy Sherman’s Paper Doll, an early video piece from the acclaimed artist, which lasts for 2.30 minutes, was located within the first room of the exhibition. In Paper Doll Cindy Sherman questions the accepted popularity of a toy heavily steeped in gender stereotyping: the paper doll. In the piece Sherman reduces herself into an inanimate object whose sole purpose is to decide what to wear depending on that day’s activity. At the end of the film, a hand removes the clothes displaying the doll’s nudity and places her back in her box. An intriguing piece of work, this singular nod does nothing to encourage the exploration of Sherman’s overture, including Untitled, a series of stills in which the artist explored the creation of a particular type of femininity after the rise of the movie.

Cindy Sherman, Doll Clothes 1975, Stills from 16 mm film on DVD, © Cindy Sherman / Sammlung Verbund, Vienna / Sprüth Magers Berlin London

Throughout the exhibition, Aware: Art Fashion and Identity makes rapid nods to artists and fashion designers alike – a single McQueen stands in the corner. Devoid of its context and standing alone within the white walls of the RA the identity of the dress becomes lost. When viewed within an entire collection, this beautiful object becomes a brutal critique on historical and modern notions of femininity.

Alexander McQueen, Autumn Winter 1998: Joan, Photo © Chris Moore, Courtesy of Catwalking

An enjoyable exhibition, though the art appears to be spread too thin and the outcome of which is that interesting ideas are left hanging or barely graspable unless you enter the exhibition with prior knowledge of the artists or fashion designers previous body of work.

The final section of the exhibition explores ideas surrounding Belonging and Confronting. Sharif Waked’s Chic Point places the daily humiliation the Palestinian man undergoes at Israeli checkpoints onto the catwalk. The photographs included at the end were taken by the artist, visualising the moment when clothes cease to become clothes and mutate into something – whether imagined or not – fearful and different.

Sharif Waked, Chic Point, 2003, DVD, running time 5’ 27” Courtesy of the artist, Photo Sharif Waked

Coco Chanel suggestion that we “look for the woman in the dress and if there is no woman, there is no dress” is taken up by Hussein Chalayan’s latest commission. In Son of Sonzai Suri, the fashion designer uses the 300-year-old Japanese tradition of Bunraku puppet theatre to lay bare the hidden puppeteers at the heart of the fashion industry.

Hussein Chalayan, ‘Son’ of Sonzai Suru, 2010, Installation shot from GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity, Commissioned by the London College of Fashion and the Royal Academy of Arts, © The Artist, Photo: Andy Stagg, Courtesy Royal Academy of Arts, London

Aware: Art Fashion Identity closes with the video pieces of Marina Abramovic and Yoko Ono. With the decision to close the exhibition here, it appears that the critique of identity and femininity stopped in the 70’s. It could have been an interesting experiment to juxtapose 70′s performance art against the catwalk shows of Alexander McQueen or Maison Martin Margiela.

The past few months have been fantastic for those interested in fashion, with a splurge of fashion related exhibitions across the capital, get to the Royal Academy quick before Aware: Art Fashion Identity closes on the 30th January 2011.
Royal Academy, 6 Burlington Gardens, London
viagra Little Rich Girls, view 2010″ width=”480″ height=”654″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-31758″ /> Installation shot from GSK Contemporary Aware – Yinka Shonibare, Little Rich Girls, 2010

“We all know Art is not the truth. Art is a lie that makes us realise the truth” Pablo Picasso

Since 2008 Glaxo Smith Klein (GSK) have been the sponsors of the Royal Academy of Art’s winter exhibition. In 2009 the space was inhabited by Earth: Art of a Changing World and featured a selection of artists engaged with the physical impacts of Climate Change. 2010 saw the Royal Academy turn it’s attention to the subject of identity and clothing in the reductively titled; Aware: Art Fashion Identity. Broken down into three segments; Storytelling, Building and Belonging and Confronting, the exhibition endeavors to examine the possibilities provided –as explored by artists and fashion designers- by clothing to reveal and conceal our cultural and physical identity.

Yinka Shonibare new commissioned focused on cultural perceptions which turn out, under closer examination, to be false. Shonibare’s ghostly installation reveals the origination of batik pattern synonymous with African tribal patterns, to be in fact from Holland. The pattern makers sold the fabric to Africa once a European buyer could not be found.

After entering the Royal Academy via Burlington Arcade and walking up the stairs into the main exhibition space. The audience moves through the three sections in a circular motion; first encountering Storytelling (announced by the presence of an embroidered kimono by Grayson Perry) then Building and finally Belonging and Confronting. The audience departs Aware: Art Fashion Identity via the two of the exhibition’s most interesting works – both of which are nearing 30 years old.

GSK Contemporary – Aware – Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 1965

Yoko Ono and Marina Abramovic’s performance pieces lay bare the artifice and cultural constructs which lay at the heart of both fashion and art identity. In the 9 minute video, Marina Abramovic and Yuri stand naked in a gallery doorway, forcing visitors to confront the physicality of the naked body, stripped of it’s adornments. Meanwhile in a video opposite Yoko Ono sits quietly on a stage whilst members of the audience snip her free from the garments of femininity. An exciting introduction to these two artists, it is a shame that more of their work was not included.
The limited inclusion of performance art seems to be a lost opportunity, specifically because the four pieces (Marina Abramovic Yoko Ono, Cindy Sherman and Mumbai) which were included naturally, lend themselves to the concept this exhibition was attempting to explore.

GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity
Royal Academy of Arts, 2 December 2010 – 30 January 2011, Marina Abramovi?, Imponderabilia Performance 1977
Galleria Comunale d’Arte, Bologna © Marina Abramovi?. Courtesy of Marina Abramovi? and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York. © DACS 2010
Photo by Giovanna dal Magro

Cindy Sherman’s Paper Doll video was located within the first room of the exhibition. An early video piece which lasts in it’s entirety of 2.30 minutes. Sherman questions the accepted (gender stereotyping) popularity of a child’s paper doll through the reduction of herself into an inanimate object. Whilst interesting to those who have encountered Sherman’s work previously, the singular nod does nothing to encourage the exploration of Sherman’s overture, including a series of stills in whcih Sherman explores the relationship between the movies and societies ideas of femininity through feminine dress.

The final piece of video art that captured the attention is located within the sub-topic: Building. In 10 minutes Mumbai confronts the viewer with the appalling conditions required to produce the clothes we discard so readily and so frequently.

Throughout the exhibition nods are made to artists and fashion designers alike –a single McQueen stands in the corner devoid of its context within an entire collection, becomes a beautiful object, rather than a brutal critique on historical and modern notions of femininity. Within the white walls of the RA the identity of the dress becomes lost.

Alexander McQueen, Autumn Winter 1998: Joan, Photo © Chris Moore, Courtesy of Catwalking

An enjoyable exhibition, the problem appears to be that the art is spread too thin, interesting ideas are left hanging or barely graspable unless you enter the exhibition with prior knowledge of the artists or fashion designers gambit.

The final section of the exhibition briefly explores ideas surrounding Belonging and Confronting. Sharif… Chic Point places the daily humiliation the Palestinian man undergoes at the hands of Israeli checkpoints onto the catwalk. Personally, the work would have been more poignant if these clothes, which reduce the wearer to exposing various sections of flesh had been worn at a real or a recreated check point – highlighting the dehumanization that occurs as every man is treated as a potential terrorist. The photographs included by the artist at the end of the film, visualises the moment when clothes cease to become clothes and mutate into something fearful (whether imagined or not).

Sharif Waked, Chic Point, 2003, DVD, running time 5’ 27” Courtesy of the artist, Photo Sharif Waked

Coco Chanel suggested we “look for the woman in the dress if there is no woman, there is no dress” an idea taken up b Hussein Chalayan’s latest commission. In … the fashion designer uses the 300-year-old Japanese tradition of Bunraky puppet theatre to lay bare the hidden puppeteers at the heart of the fashion industry.

Hussein Chalayan, ‘Son’ of Sonzai Suru, 2010, Installation shot from GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity, Commissioned by the London College of Fashion and the Royal Academy of Arts, © The Artist, Photo: Andy Stagg, Courtesy Royal Academy of Arts, London

Aware: Art Fashion Identity closes with the aforementioned video pieces of Marina Abramovic and Yoko Ono. With the decision to close the exhibition here, it would appear that the critique of identity and femininity stopped in the 70’s. It could have been interesting to see a juxtaposition of performance art against the catwalk shows of McQueen or Maison Martin Margiela.

The GSK and Royal Academy exhibitions often feel as if they are a jumping off point, a starting negotiation, as if the beginning of an undergraduate essay. They neither fill in the blanks nor leave the audience to be inspired. At best they provide a few coat pegs with which to hang the most famous artists from contemporary art and fashion.

viagra Little Rich Girls, sildenafil 2010″ width=”480″ height=”654″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-31758″ /> Installation shot from GSK Contemporary Aware – Yinka Shonibare, this site Little Rich Girls, 2010

“We all know Art is not the truth. Art is a lie that makes us realise the truth” Pablo Picasso

Since 2008 Glaxo Smith Klein (GSK) have been the sponsors of the Royal Academy of Art’s winter exhibition. In 2009 the space was inhabited by Earth: Art of a Changing World and featured a selection of artists engaged with the physical impacts of Climate Change. 2010 saw the Royal Academy turn it’s attention to the subject of identity and clothing in the reductively titled; Aware: Art Fashion Identity. Broken down into three segments; Storytelling, Building and Belonging and Confronting, the exhibition endeavors to examine the possibilities provided –as explored by artists and fashion designers- by clothing to reveal and conceal our cultural and physical identity.

Yinka Shonibare new commissioned focused on cultural perceptions which turn out, under closer examination, to be false. Shonibare’s ghostly installation reveals the origination of batik pattern synonymous with African tribal patterns, to be in fact from Holland. The pattern makers sold the fabric to Africa once a European buyer could not be found.

After entering the Royal Academy via Burlington Arcade and walking up the stairs into the main exhibition space. The audience moves through the three sections in a circular motion; first encountering Storytelling (announced by the presence of an embroidered kimono by Grayson Perry) then Building and finally Belonging and Confronting. The audience departs Aware: Art Fashion Identity via the two of the exhibition’s most interesting works – both of which are nearing 30 years old.

GSK Contemporary – Aware – Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 1965

Yoko Ono and Marina Abramovic’s performance pieces lay bare the artifice and cultural constructs which lay at the heart of both fashion and art identity. In the 9 minute video, Marina Abramovic and Yuri stand naked in a gallery doorway, forcing visitors to confront the physicality of the naked body, stripped of it’s adornments. Meanwhile in a video opposite Yoko Ono sits quietly on a stage whilst members of the audience snip her free from the garments of femininity. An exciting introduction to these two artists, it is a shame that more of their work was not included.
The limited inclusion of performance art seems to be a lost opportunity, specifically because the four pieces (Marina Abramovic Yoko Ono, Cindy Sherman and Mumbai) which were included naturally, lend themselves to the concept this exhibition was attempting to explore.

GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity
Royal Academy of Arts, 2 December 2010 – 30 January 2011, Marina Abramovi?, Imponderabilia Performance 1977
Galleria Comunale d’Arte, Bologna © Marina Abramovi?. Courtesy of Marina Abramovi? and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York. © DACS 2010
Photo by Giovanna dal Magro

Cindy Sherman’s Paper Doll video was located within the first room of the exhibition. An early video piece which lasts in it’s entirety of 2.30 minutes. Sherman questions the accepted (gender stereotyping) popularity of a child’s paper doll through the reduction of herself into an inanimate object. Whilst interesting to those who have encountered Sherman’s work previously, the singular nod does nothing to encourage the exploration of Sherman’s overture, including a series of stills in whcih Sherman explores the relationship between the movies and societies ideas of femininity through feminine dress.

The final piece of video art that captured the attention is located within the sub-topic: Building. In 10 minutes Mumbai confronts the viewer with the appalling conditions required to produce the clothes we discard so readily and so frequently.

Throughout the exhibition nods are made to artists and fashion designers alike –a single McQueen stands in the corner devoid of its context within an entire collection, becomes a beautiful object, rather than a brutal critique on historical and modern notions of femininity. Within the white walls of the RA the identity of the dress becomes lost.

Alexander McQueen, Autumn Winter 1998: Joan, Photo © Chris Moore, Courtesy of Catwalking

An enjoyable exhibition, the problem appears to be that the art is spread too thin, interesting ideas are left hanging or barely graspable unless you enter the exhibition with prior knowledge of the artists or fashion designers gambit.

The final section of the exhibition briefly explores ideas surrounding Belonging and Confronting. Sharif… Chic Point places the daily humiliation the Palestinian man undergoes at the hands of Israeli checkpoints onto the catwalk. Personally, the work would have been more poignant if these clothes, which reduce the wearer to exposing various sections of flesh had been worn at a real or a recreated check point – highlighting the dehumanization that occurs as every man is treated as a potential terrorist. The photographs included by the artist at the end of the film, visualises the moment when clothes cease to become clothes and mutate into something fearful (whether imagined or not).

Sharif Waked, Chic Point, 2003, DVD, running time 5’ 27” Courtesy of the artist, Photo Sharif Waked

Coco Chanel suggested we “look for the woman in the dress if there is no woman, there is no dress” an idea taken up b Hussein Chalayan’s latest commission. In … the fashion designer uses the 300-year-old Japanese tradition of Bunraky puppet theatre to lay bare the hidden puppeteers at the heart of the fashion industry.

Hussein Chalayan, ‘Son’ of Sonzai Suru, 2010, Installation shot from GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity, Commissioned by the London College of Fashion and the Royal Academy of Arts, © The Artist, Photo: Andy Stagg, Courtesy Royal Academy of Arts, London

Aware: Art Fashion Identity closes with the aforementioned video pieces of Marina Abramovic and Yoko Ono. With the decision to close the exhibition here, it would appear that the critique of identity and femininity stopped in the 70’s. It could have been interesting to see a juxtaposition of performance art against the catwalk shows of McQueen or Maison Martin Margiela.

The GSK and Royal Academy exhibitions often feel as if they are a jumping off point, a starting negotiation, as if the beginning of an undergraduate essay. They neither fill in the blanks nor leave the audience to be inspired. At best they provide a few coat pegs with which to hang the most famous artists from contemporary art and fashion.

pill Little Rich Girls, more about 2010″ width=”480″ height=”654″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-31758″ /> Yinka Shonibare MBE, price Little Rich Girls, 2010, Installation shot from GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity, Commissioned by the London College of Fashion and the Royal Academy of Arts, © The Artist, Photo: Andy Stagg, Courtesy Royal Academy of Arts, London

Since 2008 Glaxo Smith Klein (GSK) have been the sponsors of the Royal Academy of Art’s winter exhibition. In 2009 the space was inhabited by Earth: Art of a Changing World and featured a selection of artists engaged with the physical impacts of Climate Change. 2010 saw the Royal Academy turn it’s attention to the subject of identity and clothing in the reductively titled; Aware: Art Fashion Identity. Broken down into three segments; Storytelling, Building and Belonging and Confronting, the exhibition endeavors to examine the possibilities provided –as explored by artists and fashion designers- by clothing to reveal and conceal our cultural and physical identity.

Yinka Shonibare new commissioned focused on cultural perceptions which turn out, under closer examination, to be false. Shonibare’s ghostly installation reveals the origination of batik pattern synonymous with African tribal patterns, to be in fact from Holland. The pattern makers sold the fabric to Africa once a European buyer could not be found.

After entering the Royal Academy via Burlington Arcade and walking up the stairs into the main exhibition space. The audience moves through the three sections in a circular motion; first encountering Storytelling (announced by the presence of an embroidered kimono by Grayson Perry) then Building and finally Belonging and Confronting. The audience departs Aware: Art Fashion Identity via the two of the exhibition’s most interesting works – both of which are nearing 30 years old.

Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 1965, A film by Albert and David Maysles of Yoko Ono’s performance of Cut Piece at Carnegie Recital Hall, New York, 21 March 1965, 16mm black-and-white film with sync sound, transferred to DVD, running time 9’ Courtesy of the artist

Yoko Ono and Marina Abramovic’s performance pieces lay bare the artifice and cultural constructs which lay at the heart of both fashion and art identity. In the 9 minute video, Marina Abramovic and Yuri stand naked in a gallery doorway, forcing visitors to confront the physicality of the naked body, stripped of it’s adornments. Meanwhile in a video opposite Yoko Ono sits quietly on a stage whilst members of the audience snip her free from the garments of femininity. An exciting introduction to these two artists, it is a shame that more of their work was not included.
The limited inclusion of performance art seems to be a lost opportunity, specifically because the four pieces (Marina Abramovic Yoko Ono, Cindy Sherman and Mumbai) which were included naturally, lend themselves to the concept this exhibition was attempting to explore.

GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity
Royal Academy of Arts, 2 December 2010 – 30 January 2011, Marina Abramovi?, Imponderabilia Performance 1977
Galleria Comunale d’Arte, Bologna © Marina Abramovi?. Courtesy of Marina Abramovi? and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York. © DACS 2010
Photo by Giovanna dal Magro

Cindy Sherman’s Paper Doll video was located within the first room of the exhibition. An early video piece which lasts in it’s entirety of 2.30 minutes. Sherman questions the accepted (gender stereotyping) popularity of a child’s paper doll through the reduction of herself into an inanimate object. Whilst interesting to those who have encountered Sherman’s work previously, the singular nod does nothing to encourage the exploration of Sherman’s overture, including a series of stills in whcih Sherman explores the relationship between the movies and societies ideas of femininity through feminine dress.

Cindy Sherman, Doll Clothes 1975, Stills from 16 mm film on DVD, © Cindy Sherman / Sammlung Verbund, Vienna / Sprüth Magers Berlin London

The final piece of video art that captured the attention is located within the sub-topic: Building. In 10 minutes Mumbai confronts the viewer with the appalling conditions required to produce the clothes we discard so readily and so frequently.

Throughout the exhibition nods are made to artists and fashion designers alike –a single McQueen stands in the corner devoid of its context within an entire collection, becomes a beautiful object, rather than a brutal critique on historical and modern notions of femininity. Within the white walls of the RA the identity of the dress becomes lost.

Alexander McQueen, Autumn Winter 1998: Joan, Photo © Chris Moore, Courtesy of Catwalking

An enjoyable exhibition, the problem appears to be that the art is spread too thin, interesting ideas are left hanging or barely graspable unless you enter the exhibition with prior knowledge of the artists or fashion designers gambit.

The final section of the exhibition briefly explores ideas surrounding Belonging and Confronting. Sharif… Chic Point places the daily humiliation the Palestinian man undergoes at the hands of Israeli checkpoints onto the catwalk. Personally, the work would have been more poignant if these clothes, which reduce the wearer to exposing various sections of flesh had been worn at a real or a recreated check point – highlighting the dehumanization that occurs as every man is treated as a potential terrorist. The photographs included by the artist at the end of the film, visualises the moment when clothes cease to become clothes and mutate into something fearful (whether imagined or not).

Sharif Waked, Chic Point, 2003, DVD, running time 5’ 27” Courtesy of the artist, Photo Sharif Waked

Coco Chanel suggested we “look for the woman in the dress if there is no woman, there is no dress” an idea taken up b Hussein Chalayan’s latest commission. In … the fashion designer uses the 300-year-old Japanese tradition of Bunraky puppet theatre to lay bare the hidden puppeteers at the heart of the fashion industry.

Hussein Chalayan, ‘Son’ of Sonzai Suru, 2010, Installation shot from GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity, Commissioned by the London College of Fashion and the Royal Academy of Arts, © The Artist, Photo: Andy Stagg, Courtesy Royal Academy of Arts, London

Aware: Art Fashion Identity closes with the aforementioned video pieces of Marina Abramovic and Yoko Ono. With the decision to close the exhibition here, it would appear that the critique of identity and femininity stopped in the 70’s. It could have been interesting to see a juxtaposition of performance art against the catwalk shows of McQueen or Maison Martin Margiela.

The GSK and Royal Academy exhibitions often feel as if they are a jumping off point, a starting negotiation, as if the beginning of an undergraduate essay. They neither fill in the blanks nor leave the audience to be inspired. At best they provide a few coat pegs with which to hang the most famous artists from contemporary art and fashion.


Woodberry Down girl by Romain Lambert-Louis, more about after ‘Jackie 1973’ by Erica Dobbs

It’s good Tom Hunter’s film is as good as it is, more about because the last time I queued this long for something there was a saint at the end of it. Pilgrims wait for hours outside the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela to hug the statue above the saintly remnants – last Saturday the patient patrons of a crammed Serpentine Gallery were rewarded not so much with a divine cuddle, but with a screening of Tom Hunter’s gem of a documentary film.

‘A palace for us’ is set at Woodberry Down, a 2,500-flat council estate complex in North Hackney, up by Tottenham. Going back 50 years, Tom Hunter’s film uses current day narratives and recreated scenes to tell the stories of three people who have spent their lives at the estate. ‘When we came here we realised how lucky we were,’ says one woman. ‘There was central heating and a bath with hot and cold. It was like a palace for us.’ As the woman talks, we see reenactments of when her husband-to-be asked her to dance for the first time. ‘I’d never seen eyes like his,’ she says, smiling at the memory. ‘We had a very good marriage right to the end.’


Woodberry Down dancers by Willa Gebbie

Commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery and Age Concern Hackney, Tom Hunter made the film after spending time in residence at Woodberry, speaking to its inhabitants about their lives. Their stories are lovingly told, reflecting Hunter’s in-depth knowledge of his subjects and the area. One of the film’s interviewees shares the story of how he cowered in his bed as the area was bombed back in 1944. Born in Stoke Newington, the man was among the first to move into the estate in 1948.


Woodberry Down man by Timothy Hunt

Built to meet a severe housing shortage during the war, Woodberry was presented as an ‘estate for the future’. Especially the interviewee born there has good memories of growing up at Woodberry, telling stories of playing hopscotch in the alleys, climbing the apple trees and making perfume from the roses growing around the estate. The sense of community is clear, with the early residents taking turns mopping the stairs. Now the site is the subject of a major regeneration project, which will replace the most run-down flats and add several more as well.


Woodberry Down kids by Sandra Contreras

The original plan was to see Tom Hunter talk about the film on Saturday, but the despite earlier assurances there was no need to book seats, flushed gallery workers had to turn away a nearly 50-strong crowd due to lack of space. The day’s long lines might have been a one-off, but those who still haven’t seen the film may not want to leave it until the last minute. Because it really is worth seeing, as what I remember even clearer than the queuing is how I wish the film had gone on for longer.


Tom Hunter by Kimberley Jenkins

‘A palace for us’ shows daily until 20th January at the Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London W2.

Tags:

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar Posts:

One Response to “Tom Hunter’s memory lane”

  1. ellio100 says:

    I’m glad you posted this, I have always loved Tom Hunter’s work when I’ve stumbled across it! I would have missed this exhibition if it wasn’t written about here :D

Leave a Reply