At the same time as a slew of high-end exhibition openings and dinners were taking place across town in advance of Frieze, another equally crucial flurry of activity was unfolding in London’s further reaches. Art Licks Weekend (30 September-1 October), the annual city wide festival devoted to young artists and curators, has become essential viewing for anyone interested in the capital’s grassroots creativity.
Now in its fifth year, the festival remains committed to showing work under the mainstream-market radar and in often unexpected places. To celebrate this anniversary it had the overall title of Finding Solutions, an appropriate theme given the harsh climate for those struggling at the sharp end of our current era of rocketing rents, plummeting studio provision and slashed public funding for the arts.
Despite grim times, this terrific event taking place in 68 venues to the north, south and east of the capital (west London is obviously too pricey) demonstrated the resilience and ingenuity of London’s young artists to make great things happen with the slenderest of means.
Just a couple of hours spent in your correspondent’s home patch of Peckham, offered rich encounters with a range of innovative performances—both minimal and maximal—and works in all conceivable media. These included Lily Brook’s tightly curated show A Problem Shared is a Problem Halved in her small front room gallery, 3 Ada Road and Lucy Soni’s more domestic occupation of her front garden and sitting room, which goes under name of Why Don’t You…? HQ.
Other highlights were the derelict terraced Safehouse1 containing Ryan MacPhail’s sculptures made from building materials, which also act as the source of a rich sound piece by William Doyle. While amidst the hubbub of Peckham’s Holdrons Arcade was Rosa Farber’s installation, which demonstrated her theory of Reality A, B and C and addressed the sexual expression of vegetables and humans—with a little help from an array of produce from her aunt’s organic farm. Solutions Found, indeed.
• Some of the Art Licks Weekend venues have projects extending into Frieze week and beyond, check artlicksweekend.com for more details