We are always several at once takes over the shadowy carcass of a Victorian house in Peckham, Safehouse 1, as the collective blurs the boundaries of the crumbling house and their own artworks. Having graduated in the summer of 2015 from London’s Central Saint Martins in MA Fine Art, the collective of artists recognised that they had a common thread that connected them. It was clear that sharing a studio for two years had woven itself through their individual practices as each artist explored their place in the group, space and in London.
Artist Sooyon Kim explores this intertwining of space as an altering of reality that induces a disturbed present, which is perfectly offset by the exhibition location. Opting to exhibit in a house rather than a white cube opens a dialogue that surpasses simple presentation. The cladding of a wall long gone gives way to an atmospheric video installation (Miriam Sedacca), a painting that suggests a landscape of unclear origin reaches across a wall (Paul Doherty), whilst the hypnotic drip of water from bamboo into a pool, as the minutes tick, echoes in the background (Hyeji Woo). It is a notion about our internal and external spaces that Luce Irigaray’s explains as; “Where top and bottom, inside and outside, in front and behind, above and below are not separated, remote, out of touch, our all intermingled.”
Irini Folerou goes on to explain these working relationships, as “The moment when something is detached from its whole is the moment that gains an autonomous value, generating new narratives whilst maintaining its historical attributes.” This is present throughout the collective’s individual works. Folerou’s artwork ‘Falling apart’ investigates the metaphoric relationship between body and buildings through the notions/act of defragmentation and integrity.
Sophie Alston has chosen to take on the Safehouse with a different approach. She will present the idea of the historically ‘women’s’ craft of cross-stitch and shatter any illusion of its humble origins as a hobby fit for a lady. Rather, Alston will strip away the domesticity of the Peckham house to reassert this skill as a language of aesthetics that borders on protest.
Similarly, Safehouse 1 will be interrupted by sculptures from Hugo Brazao and Sinéad Loftus. Brazao’s larger than life artworks are interpretations of pixelated images that lead our imaginations to fill in the gaps. His signature bright colours and weathered, smooth textures activate the dormant space, but how long have they been there?
Sculptor Sinéad Loftus seeks to hide the domestic materials of her artwork amongst Safehouse 1. However, the positioning of the artworks will ask your to dance to around them, as you both become points on a map of the space.
What of the groups position within the wider context of London and further afield? Peruvian artist Ingrid Pumayalla uses photography to explore her migration and the wider movement as an exploration of migration as a cultural phenomenon. Pumayalla has collected objects throughout her travels, as she shatters their original context to raise questions of structure, boundary, origin and memory, as she renews their place, or ‘home’ for the purpose of understanding her own process of dislocation, and for us to have but an incite.
Róisín O’Sullivan counters this dislocation, by seeking the connection to lands she has visited. Her landscapes of nature do not seek to serve as easy on the eye, but rather her experimental approach to mark marking presses a sense of presence onto Safehouse 1. The suggestion of a remembered horizon connects all of us to point and landscape long gone.