Apparently Wednesday night at Associates was great - it was art's birthday, courtesy of Will Holder. Rebecca Mmmmmmmmmmm says that there were balloons and presents and cake.
Tonight though is a little more restrained. And if you're not careful it would be easy to miss. I arrive early and press my face up against the window. Andrew Bonacina walks across the empty space, opens the door (probably thinking, who's this nutter pushing his face against the glass - probably another Hoxton Street drunk...) and lets me in. I look around. Ahh, the floor is different. Today's artist is Gemma Holt and she's put down an entire new floor over the old one. Her floor is made out of small pieces of wood, exactly the size of those wooden 30cm rules you used to get at school. They look like this because, actually, they are 30 cm pieces of wood that have been prepared for a life of rulerdom but have been cruelly plucked away from the printing house and their natural vocation in the classroom, to end up stuck on a gallery floor in the east end of London. They look like tiny planks of wood. Apparently Gemma was here at 5.30 this morning with her boyfriend putting this stuff down and only finished at about 4.oo this afternoon. That's a lot of work for a floor.
Over the next half hour I stand around and watch people arrive and come in and look at the floor. This whole thing about Associates being a social space is, in some ways, what these exhibitions have been about. While there are individual artists each day the exhibition has actually been a group show, sliced and diced and arranged and overseen by Rebecca and Andrew. This twelve day show is theirs. It's a very interesting notion. The show is about creating a nexus of some sort for an art community that may (or may not) exist. It's a meeting point. I'm interested in this, naturally, because my work is about private views and people and conversations more than it is ever about the work (though sometimes that gets the better of me), and already I'm thinking about what these twelve days will look like in the future, how this will develop, what history will do to them. Luckily at this point in my thoughts Niru Ratnam comes up and says something stupid about filming the floor with his mobile. I immediately say something stupid back about taking photos of people's feet and together, I think, we both reach an understanding...those are his feet in the picture at the top.
Niru talks about Ryan's door policy. Ryan's obsessed about the door being closed at these private views, which is why they are always so damn hot and sticky. 'Wasn't like this in my day,' says Niru, sniffing and throwing out his chest, referring to when Store was here...
I lean over and put the door on its latch and watch it swing open again, figuring that should piss Ryan off.
And maybe it has because outside Ryan is putting on his big black gloves so he looks like a bouncer. Sort of. I reckon I could proabably take him if it came to it, though. People are coming and going to the bar, which is cleverly disguised as a little shop and off licence next door to the gallery. It's a pay bar, obviously. Ryan says that the shopkeeper is well pleased with all this. Ryan also thinks he should be getting a cut of the shop's profits.
I hang around taking messages on my phone and thinking that maybe I won't go to Danielle Arnaud's opening tonight. I was going to go; you know, pop in at Associates, then tube down to Danielle's but, suddenly I'm thinking, oh, it's just too far. Of course, it's not too far, it's just south of the river, but that sounds just soooooooo far away....
But that's the way it is. Four people I have spoken to today say, yeah, I was going to go, but, you know, Danielle's is just sooooooooooo far....
We are a fickle crowd. I have a few words with Matthew Smith. I tell him I'm thinking about going down to Danielle Arnaud's.
'Bit far,' he says.