The Peckham Pavilion
Peckham – its atmosphere, tone and character – is elemental to the Hannah Barry Gallery. Vivid and unruly, ours is a district gaudy with life. The gallery space Is separated by the width of a warehouse door from the hallelujahed catechisms of Peckham's gospel church – shows are conceived, developed, disputed and hung amidst resounding whoops of devotion. The Rye, Peckham's thoroughfare, is a malcoordination of colours and textures that disorientates those accustomed to the bland homogeneity of the British high street. The sour, high smell of beauty boutique nail varnish pierces through the flat, sunken pungency of street-sold fish as voices mill and footsteps beat a rhythm without metre.
The congregation of artists attracted to the borough is testament to the extraordinary sense of possibility engendered by Peckham's streets. This liminal space – London postcoded yet self-identifying – draws those determined to achieve self-expression without insulating themselves from their surroundings.
The work collected beneath the Peckham Pavilion will be distinguished by the employment of renovated techniques that foreground the intense experience of material creation. Aiming towards the communication of an attitude to the world premised upon the immersion of the individual in his environment, the exhibition rejects as insufficient unsubstantiated reference to an increasingly petrified postmodernism. The composition of the object is the vehicle for the transmission of experience.
Drawing on the tradition of the pavilion as a place of collective refuge, the Hannah Barry Gallery's exhibition at the Venice Biennale will encourage rather than suppress diversity of method, style and expression. The artists collected share an affinity with the carnival bustle of southeast London but are not united beneath a slogan. Neither will the Hannah Barry Gallery seek to impose one upon them. A movement must pass as the conceptual framework that delimits it is outgrown. The Peckham Pavilion aims instead to provide a sanctuary within which the artist is allowed to flourish.
The Pavilion will present a diverse collection of artists unified by a spirit of intellectual and aesthetic adventure and unrestricted by slavish adherence to the codified adulteration of abridged ideas. Born of a conviction that the imposition of an abstracted curatorial framework constrains the artist, the Peckham Pavilion will seek instead to emphasise the capacity of young artists to achieve an enduring expression of natural experience.