You could live in Kennington for decades and never happen across Kempsford Road. You could live on Kempsford Road and have no idea there’s an art gallery there. But there is – Greengrassi, AKA Corvi-Mora. Even the doorbell is hard to reach – presumably short people aren’t big art buyers.
If you can find the gallery, we recommend visiting between now and April 26th as the main room downstairs is showing Everything is about to happen, “an ongoing archive of artists’ books selected by Gregorio Magnani”.
All the books and pamphlets are either self-published or from small publishers. So yes, what we’re talking about here is a load of art books by people you’ve never heard of, laid out on a huge wooden table. It’s much better than it sounds because so many of the books are intriguing and/or beautiful, like the room in which they’re displayed.
These books celebrate the mundane, cheap jokes, puns, sloganeering, and porn… all the classic themes of modern art are here. If you want to read them in depth you are supposed to take them into the reading station and don white gloves.
Or rubber gloves if you want to look at the top ones below (n.b. this next image is NSFW, unless you work in a modern art gallery or The Locker Room):
Opening hours: 11am to 6pm Tuesday to Saturday
Address: 1A Kempsford Road (off Wincott Street), London SE11 4NU
For the past 115 years, Kennington Cross’s ArtsLav has been a used then disused public toilet. Now, thanks to the initiative of the local community, after a long period of development stretching back to 2005, it is an art gallery. Well done to all involved. We’ve been inside and it’s one of the most attractive disused public toilets we’ve visited – you can see why it’s grade II listed.
Painter Ryszard Rybicki’s Camera Obscura runs from tomorrow until October 24th, and they are hosting a weekend of family activities on October 19th and 20th as they invite everybody in the local community to create a painting together. Opening hours: Monday-Friday 11am-1pm and 2pm-5pm; Saturday and Sunday 11am-5pm.
Richard & Judy’s Channel 4 TV show was filmed in Kennington for eight years, and part of the former TV studio is now the Space Station Sixty Five art gallery at 373 Kennington Road. SS65 is run by artists and features modern art and sculpture, often with a feminist aspect.
At times, you might feel like you’re in the art gallery equivalent of Reginald Perrin’s Grot, but there is great stuff such as the automata by Paul Spooner. This one is called The Dream although the version in the gallery is slightly different:
I’m not sure who this is by but it’s quite fun:
The current exhibition is Long Time Dead by Debra Swann:
Kennington Runoff presented itself at the Private View of the MA Fine Art Show tonight, a giddy high point in the Kennington art world calendar. If you’ve never been inside City and Guilds Art School, housed in a row of Georgian buildings along Kennington Park Road, the final shows are an excellent opportunity to poke around this labyrinthine space.
The show, titled Red Thread, runs from 12th-15th September, and is so-called because ‘in East Asian mythology the gods tie a red cord around the ankles of those that are destined to share the same fate – be it death, love or working on the 2103 MA Show at London’s City&Guilds Art School.’
The Kennington Runoff Prize goes to Mark Morgan, for tricking us more than once with his clever excavations. Special mention also goes to Jelena Bulajic and her mammoth-scale portraits. Go and see the show in person, because these photos don’t really do it justice.
Anja von Kalinowski:
Jelena Bulajic (this is impressively huge in real life):
Beaconsfield, based in a former Victorian Ragged School, is the biggest and architecturally most impressive of the surprisingly large number of art galleries in Kennington, although it’s likely to be trumped by Damien Hirst’s new gallery which is due to open just up the road in 2014.
Art at Beaconsfield tends towards the modern and the conceptual, and they are funded by the Arts Council.
On weekday lunchtimes their Ragged Canteen serves really great vegetarian food (at other times they serve drinks and cakes). In an area with various good veggie cafes in surprising places – see also The Garden Museum and the Jamyang Buddhist Centre – The Ragged Canteen is the best. If only it were open more often and for longer.
The door is permanently locked – ring the bell to get in.