I first met Laura Oldfield Ford 5 years ago when what public profile she had was as an activist rather than an artist; but even then I could see she was serious about pictures as well as politics… and she still is. Recently she’s become the most happening newcomer on the London gallery circuit, as the heaving crowd for the opening of her first solo exhibition at Hales Gallery on Bethnal Green Road last night proved. As I was walking through the door I ran into writer Janine Bullman. Once inside I got chatting with former Mute Magazine editor Anthony Isles who was standing next to Anna Harding from Space Studios, then Fabian Tompsett formerly of the infamous London Psychogeographical Association ambled over… Next I was saying ‘hi’ my long time collaborator Chris Dorley-Brown; followed by Tracey Moberly, Bill Drummond and Richard Thomas from Resonance FM. Familiar faces were flashing by faster than a speeding train… To give just one random example, Malcolm Hopkins from Housman’s Bookshop disappeared into the crowd before I could catch his attention. By the time I found Laura I’d been in the gallery close on two hours and the crowd was finally thinning as people headed on to The Owl & The Pussycat for post opening drinks. And since most of us had already had a few beers by then, we were certainly ready for a few more…
The opening was too busy for me to give the work the attention it deserved, but I’ve been looking at Laura’s pictures for a long time and they are most definitely a groove sensation. I ran into Adam Dant AKA Donald Parsnips on Bethnal Green Road a couple of days ago and when I’d asked him if he was going to the Oldfield Ford opening, he’d replied: “Of course, she’s the new Daumier.” I’ll be going back to London 2013, Drifting Through The Ruins to check it out properly, and some of you can do so too, because it opens today (30 January) at 7 Bethnal Green Road and continues until 14 March 2009. In the meantime, here’s a bit of the gallery blurb about the exhibition:
“The main focus of the show is more than one hundred ink drawings that Oldfield Ford has recently produced as part of an ongoing project chronicling the impact of regeneration on London called 2013, Drifting through the ruins. The drawings form a broken narrative, focusing on part of east London currently being cleared for the 2012 Olympic site and documents the city as palimpsest, a site of perpetual writing and over-writing. Oldfield Ford has made many walks (or ‘Drifts’) through these abandoned areas and imagines them populated by the semiotic ghosts of failed utopias in the year 2013. ‘The London I conjure up in these drawings is imbued with a sense of mourning. These are the liminal zones where the free party rave scene once illuminated the bleak swathes of marshland and industrial estates’. ”
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – http://www.stewarthomesociety.org/ – you know it makes (no) sense!