The White Cube Bermondsey – South London, a  brutal fist of a site installed into the former no-go zone of the mean streets of Bermondsey, neighbour of Peckham, Walworth and as close to Brixton one can get before being sold one of 18 types quick fixes of Nero or Costa, the modern government sanctioned commercialised drug of choice, but still close enough to be near the major art schools and seven-score of art grads eager to be spotted, bought and marketed by a Russian Oligarch. The Cube is a formidable art space that sits with the edgy dodgy mean streets, but its 20ft barricade – surrounding car park too ensures safety from the hoard of working class people with shouty breathy voices. A great example of positive gentrification at work has ensured an influx of rising associated creative businesses taking up leases to raise the vision and investment in the neighborhood. Except for 3 or 5 studios, a mini Saintsbury’s and a pub, and perhaps due to a massive global financial crisis and Farage giving us Brexit (with ensuing exodus and further financial instability) us lot in the south of the river have been fisted, economically and socially.

Eddie Peake’s current show delivers as per title above, a reflective view of his development during an early career. But is it a nostalgic reminiscent journey for the oligarch’s children as they remember their weekly escape over the iron curtain in their private jet to London during the 90’s or a true reflection of the inner mind of an artist looking back, or is it just quite simply a manufactured story. The commission is part installation, part theatre, and part studio, his onsite studio flat suggests living as a starving artist living in a squat or warehouse surrounded by candy pink lucid dreams of drum and base, EDM, questionable fluids in steel trays suggestive of meth or LSD use – hair gel apparently, a sexuality and identity crisis, and of course lots of non complimentary, but made well, art.

The space connects lots of juxtaposed objects without any solid relationship that possibly lies in many an artist home or studio. A smorgasbord of fetishist homoerotic beats referencing moments of a life touched on for those “lucky” enough to know everyone on the tv show Made in Chelsea with fond memories.

 

In the context of the institution, behemoth, gallery; this particular exhib had a bittersweet synergy as they sit among us sipping on Espresso and Vodka, but we are worlds apart.

 

 

Ian Barrington