In the unlikely setting of a multistorey carpark on Rye Lane, Peckham, is the most amazing sculpture park you are ever likely to visit. I know, bold statement, right? But this is a bold statement for project that is successfully altering, if not changing, the way in which we view contemporary, public art. Bold Tendencies, now in its sixth and biggest year, is a non-profit, summer sculpture park that brings together emerging international artists and provides them with a platform that catapults into public consciousness.
The space is not glamorous, white walled and “fabulous dahhhling”. It’s shabby, worn down and the stairwell still retains that certain car park odour. However, it is also a location that can legitimately claim to have the best view of London. The panoramic horizon is one that has been carefully punctuated and fractured by the positioning of huge, beautiful installations such as Byobu from Laura Buckley and Fountain I by Peles Empire. From certain angles the plethora of new, contemporary work can seem to be standing alongside the Gherkin, the Shard and the Millennium Dome.
The location of the project is intrinsically connected with the artwork it includes. Speaking to the artist Mary Redmond, the industrial nature of the space is vital to the experience of her work. The piece, Seven Split Overglide, combines bamboo and plasticised organic shapes with scrap metal that appears to have been blown in from across the neighboring railroad. Redmond explains that the piece has been inspired by the Glaswegian tower blocks and Le Corbusier styled buildings she used to live near as a child. As we speak, a train rushes by and dust, grit and hot air is blown through the space forcing the scrap metal and fake flowers in her work to tremble. This wind tunnel effect, says Redmond, is akin to that created in the towerblock carparks she would walk through as a child.
Bold Tendencies opened earlier this month and welcomed over 1,000 guests to its launch party. To find anyone willing to drop the Del Boy/Rodney stereotype of Peckham can be difficult, so 1,000 people for a first night? It must be pretty damn good.
Check back for reviews of events held at Bold Tendencies this summer. For more information visit the website here
To be continued…
All images courtesy of Bold Tendencies: Byobu Laura Buckley, Fountain I Peles Empire, Seven Split Overglide Mary Redmond.