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Artist Talk: Saturday 27 April 1-3pm
2 Melior Place
London SE1 3SZ
HAPPY HOUR brings together eight artists to exhibit at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery's London Bridge project space.
The Melior Place project space is housed within the building's glasshouse architecture and reverberates with the city's unique histories and energy. Sculpture, painting and video work are installed throughout the building to activate a dialogue between the artworks and the architectural space.
HAPPY HOUR allows us to glimpse a space of possibility between work, leisure and the domestic, an example of how this performative cross-boundary 'being-together' can come about through the communal or collective.
From origins dating back to the USS Arkansas American Navy in 1913, the term 'happy hour' derived from The Happy Hour Social, a place for those on board to drink, box and dance. The club addressed the very real need for conviviality, escapism and release from workaday realities.
By the same token, HAPPY HOUR offers a similar invitation to let loose and unwind, and to explore what connects the worlds of politics, work and pleasure.
Alana Lake’s Pleasure Driveseries, (as inspired by Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle), conflates the life and death drives, positing that all life is a movement towards death. In her response to Freud’s work, Lake takes a look at the symbolism of objects to convey life, death, hedonism and sexual lust. She captures these tensions in paintings & in glass sculptures of objects such as saddles or motorbike helmets, suggesting speed, power, freedom and an inexhaustible search for meaning.
In this sense, HAPPY HOUR is a space of commonality defined by the means to which we tend to strive towards happiness - to lead a 'happy life' - and highlights the need for communication, the exchange of ideas and meaning-making in order to do so. With reference to relationships, both to oneself as well as to others, the Happy Hour, can be seen as a singular attempt in which to close distance between opposites, to spend time wisely, dancing at the twilight edges of 'working life' and 'private life'.
Paul Abbott and Alex Roberts explore similar lines of enquiry to confront the un-fixedness of who we are. Their focus is on traces of humanity and memory; how the inescapability of our pasts indelibly marks our ability to (re)present our different and changing selves. Living between Berlin and UK, Roberts encounters passengers of the everyday on her travels, observing their body language, human behaviour and tapping into latent sensitivities that lie deep below the surface. These observations transfer to her paintings on silk as she draws our attention to human tangibility through a painterly practice of figuration and abstraction.
Through the use of sculpture, video and drawing, Abbott explores boundaries between image and object with a question of how fragmented narratives may present new discursive possibilities. Merging the character of Robin Hood and O in Old English Cider, he recalls childhood memories of family alcoholism with what seemslike daydreams of a mythical figure, setting up feedback loops between fiction and reality.
Richie Culver's work is laden with social commentary through the references of entertainment and consumerism. Rap lyrics, branding, sportswear - these are all symbols and aesthetics which invoke certain ideas around contemporary British working-class life. Frank and funny, the paintings and sculptures are filled with anecdotes of leisure time and social identity. There's a relatable quality to this vein of class-marked 'Britishness', irrespective of background and identity, since these everyday objects function as flash points of desire, aspiration and disappointment.
Sally Kindberg plays on the notion of the tragicomic in a society that is both civilised and ridiculous. She uses this humorous approach to tempt us in to explore other, more unsavoury emotions and insights. Extracting particular details of the everyday, we become entranced by finer details in the works, such as waves of immaculate hair or the intense colour of a pint, to the extent that they become peculiarly abstracted.
Remi Rough distils fragments of the world around him into powerful abstract compositions. Wall murals and paintings are infused with street-wise energy and the history of abstract painting, composing marks, shapes and colours to form a new sense of language. Here, parallel timelines of history and present day meet on a multidimensional painterly surface. The site-specific piece at Melior Place, for instance, connects the ground floor with the upstairs “glass” room, effectively dissecting the architectural space.
HAPPY HOUR becomes a place of the carnivalesque, if only for a short while, where rules are temporarily forgotten about, if not actually broken, and where, on release from the tyranny of social norms and roles, there's the possibility of being yourself, or someone different altogether.
Cécile Emmanuelle Borra works predominantly in installation using a variety of media including film, photography, text, wallpaper, textile as well as found objects. Examining the relationship between Desire and the Gaze, Borra's installations position men as object of the female gaze hence posing a challenge to the assumption of binary gender roles. Banal fashion and homeware paraphernalia are commonly re-configured and their readings are altered, they become surreal, a commentary on patriarchy in consumerism and a play on identity.
As we try to divide our lives neatly into 'work time', 'free time', 'me time', 'family time' or 'leisure time', it becomes impossible nottobe hypervigilant of time as a precious commodity to conserve and protect. Afterall, it is 'our' time and how we differentiate these slices of life changes depending on our feelings around accomplishment, boredom, efficiency and crucially, those around us. Robert Cervera's work stems from a fascination with the materiality around us and within us. His concrete sculptures use an oppositional dialectic between formlessness and structure to look at flow and system.
For the Hard Discseries, concrete is mixed with eye drops, coffee, mouthwash, baby oil. Here the building material used to make permanent structures for our homes and offices are mixed with consumables such as drinks and toiletries. Their materiality changes but as the compound reacts to one another, they become one unextractable solid form. These discs have transmuted from their original source to become something entirely new, a brand new alloy of identity and data.
The curator asked each artist to make a small piece for HAPPY HOUR. Placed in the bookcase on the ground floor as a Cabinet Curiosityof Melior Place.
Join us for HAPPY HOUR, a celebration of often opposing ideas and identities, a break from work, from routine, to meet with others, to relax, be yourself, and still make it back in time for dinner.
- Roberto Ekholm
ABOUT ROBERTO EKHOLM
Roberto Ekholm is an artist and curator who studied dance at Laban Centre, London and Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London. He is the director of EKCO London and the Curator at MOCA London. He has curated internationally as well as turning his home into a gallery space. Recent exhibitions including, Happy Hour , Kristin Hjellgjerde Gallery, London, Sweep~Landskip , KINOKINO kunstsal, Stavanger, Connubial , Garborg Centre, Stavanger, Immerse , KINOKINO kunstsal, Stavanger, Hmmmmm , HilbertRaum, Berlin, EKCO Art salon. He has co-curated with Michael Petry the travelling exhibition Nature Morte : Guildhall Art Gallery London 2017-2018, National Museum Wroclaw Poland 2017, Bohusläns Museum, Sweden 2016 and Hå gamle prestegard, Norway 2015. He was an invited speaker at the Create and Collaborate Symposium , Hayward Gallery tours, Royal Festival Hall, London 2018. In May 2019 he is giving a gallery discussion with the artist Herman Lohe at Fiumano Clase Gallery London. Ekholm is member of the curator project, Hong Kong, Signed judge on The Art of
Creativity's Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018. He currently lives and works in London.
ABOUT KRISTIN HJELLEGJERDE
Established in 2012, Kristin Hjellegjerde quickly gained recognition as an international gallery
dedicated to exhibiting a roster of innovative, international artists, both emerging and established, with strong theoretical and aesthetic bases.
Known for its multicultural curatorial approach, the gallery has, over the past years, fostered close and cooperative relationships with museums and curators worldwide, maintaining a deep devotion to the artists it represents. Drawing on her own international background, Kristin Hjellegjerde seeks to discover new talents by creating a platform through which they can be exposed to local and international clients. She collaborates with curators and collectors, as well as with developers and architects. In April 2018 the gallery opened its second space in Berlin. Following this the gallery will expand to a larger space in London by Tower Bridge in 2019/2020. Kristin Hjellegjerde will also be curating a museum exhibit focused on African Artists at Vestfossen, Norway, Spring 2019.
Sally Kindberg, born in Sweden (1970) and studied at Goldsmiths, University of London where she now lives and works. Interested in both high and low brow culture, Kindberg plays on the notion of the tragicomic in a society that is both civilised and ridiculous and she uses this humorous approach acting as a portal that enables us to explore other, more unsavoury emotions. Digging where she stands, it is often Kindberg’s nearby surroundings that take centre stage. A fragment of a frame of life in the city is brought into the limelight and Kindberg uses detailed observations without exposing the individual or the original inspiration for the work. Kindberg’s paintings are predominantly figurative but where the figurative, which is primarily the starting point, becomes peculiarly abstracted. Then, intuitively embracing the unfolding picture, surfaces and shapes pop out, plough through or disappear into the background with the use of vibrant colours. Often highlighted areas stand out to create harmony or tension in the paintings. In resolving the picture planes, Kindberg is looking for a composition which is often a two-sided double take.
Alana Lake was born in 1981 in Tamworth, Staffordshire (UK). Lake studied at the Arts University College, Bournemouth, undertaking a BA (Hons) in Photography. She later moved to London embarking on a 3-year postgraduate program at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, graduating in 2009. Lake is the founder and curator of the award winning curatorial-led project space, GSL Projekt, Berlin (Auszeichnung künstlerischer Projekträume und initiative, 2018), and she currently lives and works in Berlin.
She has participated in group exhibitions internationally, including Pleasure Drive, GSL Projekt (BAW), Berlin (2018), A Production of Nothing, Kunstpunkt, Berlin (2018), CRASH, GSL Projekt, Berlin (2018) THE SHAPE OF A SHADOW, GSL Projekt, Berlin (2018), FLAKES/BITS/PIECES, Transmediale Vorspiel, Institut für alles Mögliche, Berlin (2018), CERTAIN BLACKS, GSL Projekt, Berlin (2017), PIAF (Peckham International Art Fair), London (2017), and MEHR, GSL Projekt, Berlin (2017). Her solo and duo exhibitions have consisted of NOTES & QUERIES: Works in progress by Alana Lake and David Evans, GSL Projekt, Berlin (2017), KINGDOM FALL, GSL Projekt, Berlin (2014), THE SOLID ROCK, Galeria Glance, Turin (2012), LOVE ME NOT WHEN I LOOK, Museum of Modern Art (MOCA), London (2011), and STILLEVEN, The Aubin Gallery, London (2011). Additionally her works are held in collections such as Vice, USA, Marachella Gruppo, Italy, and Peres Projects, Berlin.
Alex Roberts (b. 1975) is a British artist that lives and works between Berlin and the UK. Curating and facilitating visual art projects is a research method, an extension of her studio practice. Alex completed her MAFA at Chelsea College of Arts (UAL), following a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from The University of Reading. She continues to work at Edge Arts, University of Bath as an Artist Tutor, alongside Drawing Projects UK, The Drawing Week, Bath School of Art & Design, Bath Spa University and new for 2019, Bauhaus Summer School, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. Roberts works with paint and translucence, addressing paintings’ surface, layers and spatial depth, via the play of colour and immediacy of marks. Testing the sliding scales of figuration and abstraction, her focus is how we perceive identity, change, and encounters - human tangibility. Currently she is exploring the tensions between what is public and what is private: how, in today’s digital world, appearance often contrasts with reality and sociability belies intimacy. Roberts exhibits internationally, recent inclusions: Stockpile, Drawing Projects UK (2018); PaintLounge BERLIN(2018); no format Gallery (2018); The Performativity of Painting, The Stephen Lawrence Gallery, Greenwich University Galleries (2018); Control to Collapse, Blyth Gallery (2017); St. Paul’s Cathedral (2017); What Hat am I Wearing Today?, Paul Abbott and Alex Roberts, MOCA London (2017); Connect: Katowice, Rondo Gallery Katowice, Poland (2017). She has received the following awards: AA2A Project Placement - Bucks New University (2018); Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust (2017); The Eaton Fund (2017); Arts Council England & British Council Grant - The Artists’ International Development Fund (2016); HIX Award finalist (2016); short-listed for The Red Mansion Art Prize (2016) and Contemporary Visions VI, Beers London (2015).
Remi Rough (b. London, 1971) deals with visual semantics, distilling fragments of the world around him into powerful abstract compositions. Unlike ‘pure’ abstract painters such as Malevich and Mondrian, Remi’s pseudo-sculptural paintings and large- scale murals are instilled with a ‘street-wise’ energy and tension born from early experiences as a young graffiti writer, painting walls and trains across the world. Those familiar with the almost impossibly intricate interplay between geometry, line and colour seen in late-80’s ‘wildstyle’ graffiti will undoubtedly discover deconstructed visual clues to the artists schooling. Both colour and music have played important formative roles in the development of abstract art – Kandinsky is widely believed to have had synesthesia – and both Plato and Baudelaire wrote of the visual arts using auditory terms. The instinctive use of colour and geometric form in Remi’s work can often result in what might be described as the graphic notation for some unseen urban symphony, such as in the visual scores of Hans-Christoph Steiner. It may come as no surprise then, to learn that Remi is also an accomplished music producer. The effect is perhaps best experienced when witnessing one of his vast murals, where geography, geometry and architecture align to immerse you fully in the multi-dimensional mind of the artist. With site-specific projects such as the Ghost Village in Scotland, Morning Dynamics at Art Basel in Hong Kong, numerous publications and a gallery career spanning over 30 years and as many international cities, Remi Rough is building a legacy that – as with all great innovators – may only be truly appreciated with the passage of time. - Ed Bartlett. Curator and founder of The Future Tense. Recent solo exhibitions include Volume, MOCA London. London, UK (2018); Interlude (With Peter Lamb & Charley Peters, House of St Barnabas. London UK (2108); Morning Dynamics, External mural project with MTRHK and Swir Properties Arts. Hong Kong(2018); and Syncopation (With LX One), Zimmerling & Jungfleisch. Saarbrucken, DE (2018). Selected group exhibitions include Happy Hour, curated by Roberto Ekholm, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, Melior Place, London (2019); Graffuturism Paris, L’Alternatif. Paris FR (2019); Art from the streets, Art Science Museum, Singapore (2018); Compendium, Treason Gallery, Seattle US (2017) and Re-Define, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas US (2017).
Paul Abbott is a British artist. He has completed his MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts, UAL in 2015 and co-founded the artist-collective Disstemma in 2008. Paul Abbott’s practice encompasses sculpture, video and drawing. He is interested in exploring boundaries of image and object; the abstract and the figurative, and how the fragmenting of narrative can offer new possibilities of discourse. Paul’s work often seeks to reconfigure the familiar while making something-ness from nothing-ness; exploring that edge. Interested in melding real/unreal personal experience and experience mined from our collective consciousness in literature and cinema in particular, his recent work seeks to set up feedback loops between those fictions and realities.
Abbot has exhibited in the UK and internationally. Solo shows include What Hat am I Wearing Today?, MOCA London, London (2017); Double Indemnity, Atelier WRO, Wroclaw, Poland (2017); The Room is the Resonator, The Old Police Station, London (2016); Mile End/Stepney Green/ Wappng, Hackney Wicked, London (2014). Whilst group exhibitions includeHappy Hour, curated by Roberto Ekholm, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, Melior Place, London (2019); The Past is Always Present, Chelsea Town Hall, London (2019); Colab, Islington Arts Factory, London (2018); Time, The Gate Yard, London (2018); What Hat am I Wearing Today?, MOCA London, London (2017); Stations of Water, St Paul’s Cathedral, London (2017); Connect: Katowice,Galeria Rondo, Katowice, Poland (2017).
Robert Cervera was born in 1976 in Barcelona, and he currently lives and works in London. HIs art spans across multiple media, including sculpture, installation, video, and sound. He graduated with an MA in sculpture from the Royal Academy of Art in 2014, and was awared the Kenneth Armitage Young Sculptor Prize in the same year. He has stated that his work “stems from a fascination with the materiality around us and within us. A recurring interest is the dialectics between formlessness and structure, flow and system.” Some of the group shows in which Cervera has participated include Matter. County Hall Gallery, London (2019), Identify your limitations, acknowledge your periphery, VITRINE, Basel (2017), Glut Data. ASC Gallery, London. (2017), Concrete + Clay, Roaming Room, London 2017), New Material, APT Gallery, London (2017), Salón ACME, Zona MACO week, Mexico City (2017), and Cue Collision: Vivien Zhang, Robert Cervera, Candida Powell-Williams, House of Egorn, London (2016). Additionally, Cervera’s solo and duo shows consist of YES AND (with Peter Lamb). Kelder Projects, London (2018), Tomorrow Starts Here, La Escocesa, Barcelona (2017), Re:Pro (with Robin Seir), OK Corral, Copenhagen, Denmark (2015), Prova (with Youngju Oh), Dyson Gallery, Royal College of Art (2014), Access, installation at the church of St Mary Aldermary, London (2013), and A Few Words In Material Nepali, Patan Museum, Kathmandu, Nepal (2012).
Richie Culver was born in Withernsea, (Yorkshire, England), 1979. He now lives and works in London. Metonymies and the proximity of politics hold Richie Culver’s work in a soft tension. His canvases are punctuated with a staccato visual effect, littered with the brand names, logos, rap lyrics and government agencies that are prevalent in and around a working class life. Culver’s work therefore coolly disarms a reading of his work that might be classed as commentary, but the shadow of the state and the repeated motifs of his practice infer a charged stasis that situates his work within a socially concerned dialogue, constantly nodding to the “life and times” or “a day in the life” of a government supported person. Culver’s work is undeniably funny – and the humour is derivative of a certain British attitude to the working class. It does not try to goad our sympathy, but instead presents a joviality that is intoxicating. Recent solo shows include: C’est Sombre Vers Le Nord, Lehmann + Silva, Porto (2018); I Could Have Gone Pro, Nuart Gallery, Stavanger, Norway (2018); Raga Night at the Community Centre, Zweisieben, Karlsruhe, Germany (2018), No One Knows Me Like Dawn from the Job Centre, Humber Street Gallery, Kingston upon Hull, UK (2018). Whilst recent group shows include: Happy Hour, Curated by Roberto Ekholm, Kristin Hellegjerde Gallery, Melior Place, London (2019); Paper Cuts,Saatchi Gallery, London (2018); Stitchingthecracks, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London. (with Pedro Matos & Lauren Dicioccio) (2018) andThe Politics of Pink,The Dot Project, London (2018).
CÉCILE EMMANUELLE BORRA
Cécile Emmanuelle Borra is a French born London based artist, graduate of Goldsmiths College. She is Associate Lecturer in Fine Art at UAL, London. Working predominantly in installation, she uses a variety of medias including film, photography, text, wallpaper, textile, etc., as well as found objects. Drawing from a feminist perspective and from the writings of Judith Butler, Giles Deleuze and Paul B. Preciado, her art practise examines the relationship between Desire and the Gaze and most particularly continues her longstanding representation of men as objects of the female gaze. Selected shows include Salon for a Speculative Future, Chisenhale Studios, London (2019); In Whose Eyes, Beaconsfield Gallery, London, (2018); We All Have A Problem With Representation, The Showroom, London, (2016); Feminist Practices in Dialogue, ICA, London, (2015); In Between, Saatchi Gallery, London, (2015); Some Like It Wrong, Nuovo Cinema Palazzo, Rome (2015); Where The Men Met, Kulturhuset, Stockholm, (2011); Re-Sign, K-salon Gallery, Berlin, (2010); Kaleidoscopes, Sketch, London, (2009) and Helmut Newton Ladies Nights, the Royal Academy, London, (2008). Residencies and grants include AA2A at Chelsea College of Arts, London (2013), ULTRAMICHKA, Pau (2013), Firstsite, Colchester (2012) and NFK, Stockholm (2010).