“56 AR­TILLERY LANE”

RAVEN ROW, LON­DON, UK

Canadian Art - - Reviews -

His­tory has a habit of re­peat­ing it­self— some­times as a tragic ac­ci­dent, and some­times with in­ten­tion. At Raven Row, cu­ra­tors Amy Budd and Naomi Pearce trod the lat­ter path, gath­er­ing more than 60 par­tic­i­pants in a salu­tary restag­ing of “A Woman’s Place,” an ob­scure fem­i­nist ex­hi­bi­tion held in 1974 that has all but dis­ap­peared from his­tory’s an­nals.

“56 Ar­tillery Lane” is named for Raven Row’s Spi­tal­fields town­house ad­dress, but it also pays homage to the hum­ble venue of “A Woman’s Place”: 14 Rad­nor Ter­race was a small house in Lam­beth con­verted into a large-scale in­stal­la­tion by fem­i­nist art group S.L.A.G. (South Lon­don Art Group). At the time, 14 Rad­nor Ter­race was the cen­tral hub for a group of les­bian fem­i­nist squat­ters—it housed the South Lon­don Women’s Cen­tre, whose clients were “a fluc­tu­at­ing and itin­er­ant com­mu­nity of women,” ac­cord­ing to an es­say in the Raven Row pub­li­ca­tion com­piled by Amy

Tobin. Just as his­tory tends to­ward rep­e­ti­tion, time is bent on bring­ing about change. New de­vel­op­ments drove res­i­dents out of 14 Rad­nor Ter­race, and the com­mu­nity that sur­rounded it was scat­tered. “56 Ar­tillery Lane” moved into the space that his­tory left va­cant, play­ing on the orig­i­nal show’s theme of the do­mes­tic lives of women by or­ga­niz­ing gallery lev­els as rooms in a house­hold. Morag Keil and Ge­orgie Net­tell’s Punks Not Dead It’s Dif­fer­ent (2015) ar­ranges cop­per-painted fur­ni­ture, ox­i­dized with urine, along­side re­pro­duc­tions of Vi­en­nese Ac­tion­ist screen­prints, and on the top floor, usu­ally closed to the pub­lic, Mar­tine Syms hung cus­tom-made cur­tains along­side her three-chan­nel video in­stal­la­tion An Evening with Queen White (2017).

In The Other Half (1997–99), Fiona Clark chron­i­cles her phys­i­cal and men­tal trans­for­ma­tion af­ter a car ac­ci­dent: a visual record, in em­broi­dered rags, of time’s abil­ity to heal his­tory’s blows. The art­work served as a som­bre re­minder when, three days af­ter “56 Ar­tillery Lane” closed, a dev­as­tat­ing fire rav­aged Gren­fell Tower in North Kens­ing­ton—ev­i­dence of Lon­don’s on­go­ing hous­ing cri­sis, and of his­tory singing out its tragic chorus once again. —ROSIE PRATA

In­stal­la­tion view of Fiona Clark’s The Other Half (1997–99) at Raven Row, Lon­don, UK PHOTO MAR­CUS J. LEITH

Des­mond Cole in a still from Charles Of­fi­cer’s 2017 film The Skin We’re In COUR­TESY 90TH PAR­AL­LEL PRO­DUC­TIONS

PHOTO CHRIS ROMEIKE

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