Art & Culture
V22’s Young London lates: an evening to remember
An “intimate environment”, the event promised, a chance for the artists at V22's Young London 2018 exhibition to present further aspects of their work. What those aspects were, the website did not say. Naturally, you would expect a talk.
Newly landed on the derelict warehousing site known as Silvertown Quays, V22 is a publicly-owned art organisation that, among other things, specialises in providing studio space for artists, makers and creators. Beneath the towering landmark of Millennium Mills, they plan to build a creative community out of up to 200 shipping containers. For the next five years, the plot will bustle with studios, exhibition spaces, places to eat, and collaboratively-built gardens. It joins the area’s growing creative cluster that includes the likes of RAW Labs and The Silver Building.
Passing through high iron gates and along a wide mud path, it is clear that the transformation has already begun. This site has been a favourite in recent years for filming action scenes; that evening, what lay at the end of the path was a different sort of performance. There was no auditorium, no projector screen, no drinks in plastic cups. Instead, outside on a patch of concrete, V22’s Katie Tysoe was demonstrating to a huddled group how to bounce a basketball off a kerb. This was artist John Costi’s live performance piece, Po' Cruddy Pentathlon, and everyone was invited to take part. Costi’s pentathlon examines working class ideals of masculinity by re-enacting the games that were favourites on the estate where Costi grew up, games like Kerbsy, Penny up the Wall, and Patball.
It’s increasingly difficult to stumble on events this strange and spontaneous in London.
Costi’s oeuvre moves between the genres of performance, sculpture and installation, thriving on unpredictable situations and revelling in unplanned interactions. His first solo exhibition, Trash Money, invited visitors to create their own sculptures and in so doing transformed its own display hourly. On this occasion, each participant received a limited-run print of a legal disclaimer, the tiny font illegible under the poor lighting. It was never made clear whether these were a genuine legal requirement, a joke, pieces of art, or some combination of all three.
It’s increasingly difficult to stumble on events this strange and spontaneous in London; events you might turn up to in nice shoes and instead spend the evening flicking pennies at a wall with a group of strangers. As well as join in Costi’s performance piece at V22, visitors could take in the Young London 2018 exhibition. Curated by Rowan Geddis, the show displayed artists’ work in a disused grain silo that had been shipped to the site for this purpose. The cylindrical walls of corrugated iron could barely have contrasted more with the flat white walls that characterise almost every other gallery in the city. Silvertown brewer Husk Brewing were on hand with their signature pale ale and a creamy milk stout, accompanied by the brand-new roaming restaurant service Tab London.
V22 are just getting started. They’ll be opening in 2019 and will be hosting a community weekend next summer, so keep an eye out. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in taking studio space.
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