It’s a dank, wet autumnal evening and I’m running around the sodden streets of Shoreditch trying to find the Edge Condition. For an exhibition that’s key theme is location, it’s certainly hard to find. With my patience running out and my shoes filling up, I eventually find this allusive show – and what a find it is…

Visiting a pop-up exhibition that is apart from the safety-net of the big name galleries is always tinged with an air of apprehension. A trip to the close-by Whitechapel Gallery for example, ensures sophistication, intellectual ability and artistic prowess. However entering an exhibition encompassing a group of relatively unknown artists, is an engagement shrouded in mystery, intrigue and met with unconfirmed opinions.

What then was to be found behind the smoky shadows of this unknown? Taking place at The Spitalfield’s Gallery, Greatorex Street during the London Design Festival, the three-day Edge Condition exhibition (19-21 September 2012) saw 24 artists come together to express their interpretation of ‘location.’ Whether this be through individual experiences or collective memories, the precocious show provided an audience with thought-provoking tensions over an eclectic mix of mediums including photography, illustration and graphic design. With a subject-matter that could be geographical, philosophical or fact based, the show displayed works in the form of prints, books and instillations.

…the make-shift gallery seemed out of place on the street…

The location of the site itself reflected the theme well and was by all accounts, on the edge. Positioned just outside of Shoreditch, a place renown for its trend-setting indie shops and cutting-edge artistic galleries, the exhibition broke conventional boundaries by being placed in a periphery location. Partly residential, partly filled with life-less business parks, the make-shift gallery seemed out of place on the street. During the day, the building houses board meetings, classes and lessons for children. At night, the cold, sapless corporate environment gets injected with a dose of decadence and is replaced with something far more edgy…

Exaggerating this theme of location, amongst the most striking works exhibited in the gallery, was actually out of the gallery. Moved to an intimate spot just below a flight of stairs, the progressive artist Helene Kazan presented a visual recording of the inside of a box. Made to look like an abandoned living room, carpets and all, the interior of the box is on a micro-scale but once recorded over a period of twelve hours this tiny room gets projected onto the wall and made to look like a life-size film of a squatters quarters. This is location obscured: the viewer is unsure if what they are looking at is life-size.

…conventional ideas of this location are turned on their head…

Back in the gallery, the front-left corner of the room saw a mustard yellow aran-knit thick cardigan placed neatly on a slightly-raised platform. A piece by exhibition co-curator Hamish Lloyd-Platt, this vivid piece of finery is an artistic reference explained in the literary accompaniment, which shows brilliantly composed photographs of a Where’s Wally type character wearing the striking cardigan and parading around an abandoned Liverpool Street on a quiet Sunday morning. The conventional ideas of this location are turned on their head and the hectic streets of the financial quarter become home to eerie desertion.

A sideline show by location, but certainly not marginal in terms of artistic ability, Edge Condition was too short lived over its three-day life. Let’s hope this group of up and coming artists break through the stiff conventions of artistic hierarchy to find themselves within the established sphere. They may not be being displayed at the Tate, but this makes them no less exciting. To find out more about these forward-thinking artists, visit the website.

About The Author

A University of Reading English and History of Art graduate based in London and embarking on a career in journalism.

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