Thursday, 18 September 2014

“…the suburbs are self-medicating, the suburbs are hallucinating, England is hallucinating…”
In 2011 it was the suburbs that saw the most dramatic displays of collective violence. In Croydon, Edmonton, Catford, Streatham, the barriers broke down and the suburbs suddenly became porous, territorial markers melted and the streets became the site of collective engagement with the spectacle of consumerism, the anger directed towards pawnbrokers, retail parks and high street stores.
A reversal has taken place; the suburb is the new inner city. The situation is fractured and complicated but, after a year spent walking around the outer reaches of South-West London, artist Laura Oldfield Ford argues the suburbs emerge as two distinct categories: Zones of Refuge where bankers, frazzled with siphoning public money, relax and dream of heritage England, of Tolkein, of homes and gardens; and Zones of Sacrifice, the areas allowed to decay amidst sites of gentrification, held captive on all sides by the ghoulish horror of Cath Kidston and cup-cake baking.
“What happens when you’re forced to spend hours immersed in stultifying work; split-shifts at McDonalds in a traffic island near Heathrow, living in a Travelodge in Sunbury working on the construction of some luxury development, or stuck in a call-centre in Croydon hassling people about loan repayments. You might seek solace in marginal political ideologies, the EDL, Al-Muhajiroun, the comfort and camaraderie of faith, with the thrill of violence to puncture the boredom. But mostly you self-medicate.”
Laura Oldfield Ford (b.1973 Halifax, West Yorkshire) is a London based artist and writer. Her work is concerned with issues surrounding contested space, landscape, architecture and memory, reworking the ‘dérive’ or drift as a subjective process of mapping territory along the lines of social antagonism. Awarded the Stanley Picker Fellowship in 2013, she has spent the last year walking through the outer-edges of South West London. Recent exhibitions include Ruin Lust Tate Britain (2014), Recording Britain V&A (2012) and Anarchy Unmasked British Library (2014). She is the author of Savage Messiah (Verso, 2011).
To accompany this exhibition Laura Oldfield Ford has produced the very first of our Stanley Picker Gallery Editions available for sale directly from the venue.
Associated Events:
Launch Event: Wed 8 Oct 6-8.30pm / All Welcome
Laura Oldfield Ford Talk at Sir John Soane’s Museum: Fri 24 Oct / Time (tbc)
Visit for booking information
Suburban Drifts: Sat 25 Oct & Wed 12 Nov 2-5pm (weather permitting)
Join Laura Oldfield Ford on a walking tour of the local suburbs / Free Event / Booking Essential
Stanley Picker Gallery Talk with Laura Oldfield Ford: Wed 12 Nov 7pm / Drinks 6pm / All Welcome
Image: Laura Oldfield Ford Cash4Gold (detail) acrylic and marker pen on watercolour paper (2014) Courtesy the Artist
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