Tuesday, 1 September 2009

South East in East

By Millie Findlay

Hold onto your hats, the south Londoners are coming! Artist collective Off Modern introduce South London’s finest to East London during not just one night – but a whole week’s worth of music, arts and literature.

Off Modern at Corsica Studios, Bradford Bahamas, Off Modern at Hannah Barry Gallery in Peckham, Casio Kids (Click any image to enlarge it)

This Friday sees the start of the seven day extravaganza, when by night music the likes of Hot Club de Paris, The Invisible and My Tiger My Timing, will run alongside theatre performances from New Cross collective Short Nights. By day workshops, films and a large group exhibition featuring Off Moderners Tom Harrad and Yuki Pattison, plus contributions from South London compadres including Deptford based gallery and party organisers Friendly Street Gallery, and fellow Peckhamites Lucky PDF, mad scientists and inventors Bradford Bahamas and Charlesworth, Lewandowski & Mann.

Off Modern was born in the depths of South East London, with the aim to provide a "lateral glance at art, music, aesthetics and culture", explains co-founder Tom Harrad. The collective have created a platform for young artists to show their work and get noticed, without having to bend to the will of larger galleries. Off Modern lies in the thick of the rapdily growing south London artistic community, with long-standing collaborations with the likes of Friendly Street Gallery and Hannah Barry Gallery.

Tom Harrad affirms that the community spirit down in South London has contributed to the success of Off Modern and other artist collectives: "Everyone knows that the best way to get things done is to work with each other, and to build a scene we can all be a part of."

After being approached by Vibe Bar earlier this year, the folks at Off Modern decided the timing was right for something big. The xOff Modern events at Corsica Studios have been popular since its first outing back in late 2008, however the opportunity at Vibe Bar presented a new challenge. "All our exhibitions have been focussed on South East London artists, lots of graduates from Camberwell and Goldsmiths, so we thought that we should take this into the heart of the London alternative arts scene in the east end."

However, Off Modern has no plans to emigrate east any time soon. "Peckham is a hotbed for untainted creativity. The East end is saturated and commercialised." Tom declares, "Cheap rent and free space always attract artists. The opportunities for people who don’t have loads of money (i.e. Us) are far greater down south." Off Modern certainly does not seem to need to seek success in the east, having lured art-lovers down to Elephant and Castle in ever-greater numbers.

Nor do they show any signs of slowing down, with plans for a record label, single release and permanent exhibition space in the pipeline, as well as the second issue of the Off Modern Zine and the next Corsica studios event in October! There must be something in the water in Peckham…

Want more info? SEiE website or jotta calender

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