Cecilia Bentley Bortoluzzi
Beth Elliott Tony Fleming
The exhibition refers to this exchange and transformation; how the intersections and collaborations between artists both describe and resist the story of this transformation.
The buried presence of the Southwark Park Lido (1923-1986) mirrors recent transformations of North Bermondsey/Surrey Quays (née Docks); a ghostly trace marked by the decommissioned fountain and the presence of the original lido café (transformed into a gallery by The Bermondsey Artists’ Group in 1984 to become what we now know as Cafe Gallery - totally rebuilt in 1999-2000). The extraordinary history of the Pool of London and the growth of industry it supported has been slowly erased, to be re-built in another form. Nevertheless, the traces and scars of this story remain to be revisited, retold and remade.
POOL refers to this exchange and transformation; how the intersections and collaborations between artists both describe and resist the story of this transformation. The pooled activity of artists can sometimes offer other potential histories hidden beneath the surface: the watery world of Anthias (Sisters from Another Mister) suggests another world where the lido swimmer plunges underwater and begins to dream; threads pull apart just as they seem to pool together, echoing the contested artistic histories and ideas that have been born out of thirty years of working with and within Southwark, illustrated by Malcolm Jones’ local mural study for a painting commission that is now erased (Water Table/Estuary, 1985). Other works allude specifically to these marks of change and socio-economic transformations such as Carla Wright's banners and Karin Wach's photo traces of now demolished buildings and Anne Robinson’s Thrashing in the Static which explores psychic time travel and disorienteering The Thames.
POOL offers insight into how conversation and dialogue can cluster together ideas that can be both nourishing but also resistant creating a dialogue amongst works that re-present the world back to itself, creating allusions and ideas that ripple from the centre and bounce back. Looking down into the mirrored surface of a pool we begin to see other possible worlds beneath the surface.
Established in 1983 by founding Director Ron Henocq, the Bermondsey Artists’ Group (BAG) is an artist-led initiative that supports CGP London and creates opportunities for artists who live, work or study in Southwark. This artists’ group is a rare grassroots initiative that has impressively survived three decades of a changing landscape within visual arts and London itself. Collectively they have maintained a democratic framework and consistent core values; to support local artists to show their work and develop their practice, and to shape the artworld by pursuing and valuing engagement, innovation and quality.
Image: Southwark Park Lido
Opening: Sunday, 5 July 3 - 5pm
CGP London - Cafe Gallery
1 Park Approach, Southwark Park, London