The ICA London is presenting a major new project at The Old Selfridges Hotel in London as part of a series of off-site events. It is all about tracing a creative thread through London’s recent cultural history. The exhibition allows you to take an immersive Journey into Subculture from the 1980s to Now. It illustrates a perceived timeline between the post-punk era and the present day – a legacy that underpins London’s incredible creative potential in the present.
Gilbert & George, John Maybury, House of Beauty & Culture, Tom Dixon, Jeffrey Hinton, Bodymap, St John, Alexander McQueen, Martino Gamper, Julie Verhoeven, Giles Deacon, Charlie Porter, Chisenhale Gallery, Lucky PDF, Vogue Fabrics Nightclub, Sibling, J W Anderson, Bethan Laura Wood, Matthew Darbyshire and Louise Gray are amongst the 60 influential figures from London’s creative scene involved in the project.
The project occupies the vast first floor of The Old Selfridges Hotel, a cavernous industrial raw space, situated on Orchard Street directly above the Selfridges Food Hall. The project entrance is situated next to Selfridges Food Hall.
A Journey Through London Subculture: 1980s to Now seeks to make connections between London’s creative past and the present day using photographs of members of ‘The House of Beauty and Culture’ mudlarking on the banks of the River Thames as a starting point. For example, was early YBA, in fact, an extension of 80s DIY culture? Is there a connection between Gilbert & George through the artist/poet David Robilliard to Trojan and Leigh Bowery and from there to Alexander McQueen? In design terms, does the salvage work of Andy The Furniture Maker connect to Martino Gamper’s reassembled chairs or the designs of Bethan Laura Wood? Can we extend the social influence of former nightclubs to artist collective LuckyPDF, or venues like Vogue Fabrics and Cafe OTO, or Iain R Webb’s styling for Blitz magazine to the collections of J W Anderson or Louise Gray?
Deploying over fifty vitrines, alongside video works, installations and billboard-sized images, the project brings together a wide range of multi-disciplinary practice including art, fashion, graphics, craft and design, highlighting the idea that distinct and differing art forms can exist in the same space at the same time. The timeline set by this project spans the moment when 80s counterculture would arguably enter the mainstream and the London underground scene, ravaged by AIDS, would eventually be co-opted by a rising tide of commercialisation. In illustrating the path taken by London’s alternative scene, the project explores counterculture today and what emerging artists have in common with their countercultural forebears.
An exciting series of free weekly talks and events are taking place over the course of the six-week duration, and partners and speakers include award winning SHOWstudio, renowned designer Tom Dixon, and the Warhol Museum.