Art Licks Weekend is the culmination of a year-round initiative to bring the underground and emerging London art scene up above water. 300 little-known movers and shakers, from all ends of London, have set up work in 84 locations around the city. So, wherever you find yourself over the weekend, chances are there's an installation, exhibition or performance up the road, and it's totally free. Art Lick is full of fresh, stripped-back art, non-commercial, non-conformist, and full of interesting events and exhibitions re-defining the classic gallery experience. Each of their destinations supplies a vibrant spin on the standard 'picture on a wall' production. It is grassroots, but in no way amateur.
With ALW team member, Jen Aarvold, as our guide, i-D did the rounds of last nights private views in Peckham. Here's a taster of what to expect.
38b - Book-ish: A Book Fair of Sorts
38b Peckham Rye, is exactly what it sounds like; someone's flat. It's home to Eva Rowson and Luke Drozd and the pair invite strangers back to their place on a regular basis… to see art, of course. For Art Licks Weekend they have curated a showcase of colour co-ordinated books and printed matter by a selection of artists. You walk up their stairs, past a balcony overrun by plants, past their kitchen and into what is usually their living room. It seemed like a hell of a lot of effort to move everything out every time they put on a show, but, Eva explained, at least the sofa was actually still in the room, they had just built the bar around it - genius. Book-ish is a beautifully curated show which is all about finding joy in the little things.
Ali Baba Bar, Recommended For You
Juice bar by day… immersive art installation by night. This space is really magic. It feels like you're walking into someone's shed, and then it's a bit like looking inside the mind of a teenage YouTube addict, the quiet whispering could even be their thoughts. Plug in your headphones though and you'll see that the whispers are actually just coming from the videos and it really wasn't that cryptic at all. Personal favourites, if you can spot them: The video featuring a 'waterproof' Ugg boot which someone repeatedly sloshes water over, and a very strange film of a girl on a green-screened beach wearing a green swim suit so that her body is invisible. Her head, and limbs, roll about the beach, half tongue-in-cheek dance, half seductive gyration.
Safehouse 1, Jill Quigley - Inter//Vention
Safehouse 1, is one of a pair of semi-detached Victorian houses which were once a squat and remain glamorously dilapidated. Seen Fifteen Gallery's have used the space to showcase the work of Irish photographer Jill Quigley. The focus of the exhibition is Jill's photographic series, The Cottages of Quigley's Point, which feature old abandoned cottages which she has 'intervened' with; basically meaning she's gone in and thrown a load of glitter over and generally jazzed up the place. The resulting pictures are a celebration of her heritage, without all the phony nostalgia of what the press release aptly names "ruin-porn". The coolest thing about her show at Safehouse 1 is that for the first time, Jill has gone and intervened around the whole building so that her photographs form part of a much larger installation. Her work expands beyond the image creating an entire environment for the viewer. I was obsessed by all her tiny details, like the coloured tissue paper slotted into the gaps in the walls.
DKUK Salon, Jack Strange - It Want It
A permanent feature of the Holdrons Arcade on Rye Lane, at a glance DKUK looks like a pretty basic hair salon. Run by Daniel Kelly (artist/trained hairdresser) DKUK hosts mini exhibitions which display artworks to one lucky individual, whilst they relax and get their hair cut. Kelly explained to me that (when permitted) he likes to record the conversations people have with their hairdresser as this is an integral part of the experience. You sit down, you stare at some art and you inevitably have a good chat because that's what people do at the hairdressers. The viewer becomes part of a performance art piece. For ALW, Daniel commissioned Jack Strange to make a site-specific artwork. Strange came up with It Want It, a disco organised for one lone hair who will be partying incessantly for the whole weekend. All I can say is… you kinda have to be there…
If you can't make it over the next few days, you can still keep updated about all the lickalicious art by tuning in to Radio Anti on 87.5FM. Art will be reviewed, discussions will be had, sound pieces broadcast and people interviewed. Bringing the focus back to the community, Jen will also be talking to local teens about their take on the event (Sunday, 3pm). It's the perfect cultural audio-experience for anyone not in London, or those of you too skint, hungover or just plain lazy to venture far from home (although that really is no excuse).
Art Licks Weekend runs Friday 2 - Sunday 4 October 2015 with all galleries & spaces open daily from 12-6pm. No tickets required.
Text Lily Bonesso