Friday, October 13, 2006

My Dead Gallery

Frieze week is nearly over and I end up on Friday with a bit of history.
Ah, history. You know, old people and bits of paper. That's what history usually looks like.
And this is sort of true for the Centre of Attention's very selective review of independent spaces and collectives of the latter half of the last century. At least three people ask me why City Racing isn't in all this; possibly one of the most famous independent spaces of the last 30 years. But there you go, there are plenty of others missing from this and, also, that's history, isn't it? Selective, subjective, incomplete, random, fickle.
The opening is at Fieldgate Gallery which is a pretty big space and more than adequate to the job of displaying all these bits of paper. The magazine Women's Art Library, which then became Make which then became nothing at all is presented as a carpet of magazines in the floor. Other historical organisations seem no more than a table, a chair and a title. There's bits of paper from workfortheeyetodo, 2B Butler's Wharf, Artslab and lots of others that I've never heard of.
BANK, who I have heard of, also have some bits of paper there - as well as some lifesize crucifixions that are leaning against walls and pillars. I still like all that mad BANK stuff. It was just so arrogant and angry and, really, downright childish. I can't think of anyone doing anything like this now.
But maybe that's no bad thing...
I look around. There's a whole mix of people here - lots of old people who look like hippies. There are also lots of kids who look like children of hippies. For a while a few of them play football with an enormous black balloon (above).
Near the back of the gallery there's a video screen showing a short piece of film of naked women with their bodies painted in a decidedly sixties type way. It all looks, man. But also beautifully innocent. And fun.
There are a few women watching the screen too, wearing expressions on their faces that I'm sure could only be read as 'look at me there, what was I doing?' and then taking photos and howling with laughter...
The whole place seems to be a multi pocketed reunion for different groups. Some of them have faired pretty well, some of them have clearly gone mad. That Japanese woman who kept screaming and running around and then later, lying on the floor. Not sure if she was faring too well.
There's some interesting stuff here, but the best bits are actually to be found sitting down with the website and taking time to read thru the texts and looking at those old photos of groups of people inside and outside their galleries. I adore those photos. So of their time, so dated. So hopeful. It reminds me of some of the photos that I have on this blog, great people caught up in the little history I am writing; making history now, instead of waiting fifty years. And we all know what history is like: selective, subjective, incomplete, random, fickle....

old pics


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