Dalston has been ‘officially’ designated a cool area of London, apparently. I have lived near Dalston for years and had several studios there, and I can attest to its deserved reputation for art and artists.
So one sunny Sunday in January I went along with my friend the curator Hanya El Ghamry to a little exhibition in a studio complex in Dalston’s colourful Ridley Road. This is the site of a large and well-established street market where you can buy all manner of weird and wonderful things.
We went to the Ridley Road Project Space to see a little show called Grotto. As the show, press release says, “Taking inspiration from the secluded and treasure-like notion of a grotto – ‘a small cave or cavern, often associated with miraculous apparitions and other supernatural experiences’ –” the selection of work exhibited was diverse and unexpected yet everything meshed well together.
We met curator Chloée Maugile at the space, and discussed the challenges of putting such divergent works into such a small room. They managed it by having a very strong sense of space and exhibition design, with great sensitivity to the impact of colours, shapes and textures of the different pieces and making them work dynamically in the room. It was great to see such good work by young curators.
Artists in Grotto: Miranda Keyes, Inez Valentine, Sophie Spedding, Firpal Jawanda, Richard Gasper, Aiden Duffy, Nina Porter, Kin-Ting Li, Ruth Angel Edwards, Adam Gallagher, Carlotta Roma, Arthur Poujois, Thom Murphy, Anna Pye, Waj Hussain, Conrad Pack, Lettice Gatacre, Tom Schneider, Susu Laroche, Gonçalo Neto, Isabel Walter, Alice Fraser.